Parks Canada demonstrating world leadership in conservation and connecting Canadians
BANFF NATIONAL PARK, AB, June 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wildrose, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today invited Canadians to join Parks Canada in Banff National Park for an incredible 2015 summer season. Banff National Park is a shining example of Parks Canada's leadership in delivering on Canada's National Conservation Plan to conserve our lands and waters, restore our ecosystems and connect Canadians to nature.
For 130 years, Banff National Park has welcomed Canadians and visitors from around the world. Canada's most popular national park attracted over 3.6 million visitors last fiscal year (2014/15) – a 10 percent increase over the previous year and the most in 15 years. These visitors witnessed first-hand some of this country's most spectacular protected landscapes and wildlife, and gained a deeper understanding of what Parks Canada is doing to ensure this special place is left unimpaired for tomorrow.
The Government of Canada's leadership to conserve and restore the lands and waters of Banff National Park is demonstrated by several projects and initiatives in the park, including:
- The wildlife crossing structures along the recently twinned Trans‑Canada Highway, which have become international models, allow wildlife to safely cross this busy road and access large expanses of habitat.
- The use of prescribed fire has returned a natural process to the landscape and improved critical, year-round habitat for species such as grizzly bears, mountain sheep, goats, wolves, deer and elk.
- Removing barriers, such as highway culverts and dams, from the park's rivers and streams has improved aquatic connectivity.
- A bison reintroduction project will see this Canadian wildlife icon return to traditional grazing lands for the first time in over 100 years.
In 2015, Banff National Park is also offering visitors several novel ways to create lasting memories.
- Go Camping! Equipped Campsites welcome visitors with basic camping gear, including a tent that is already set up. Whether new to camping or simply looking for a hassle-free experience, Equipped Campsites make this classic Canadian pastime both affordable and convenient.
- Come Commemorate! The Cave and Basin National Historic Site marks the centenary of the First World War. Journeys back in time and learn about Banff's connection to the war, overseas and at home.
- Get Involved! Volunteer opportunities abound for Canadians to help protect the park by maintaining trails as part of a trail club or youth group, checking wildlife fences, removing invasive plants, or reporting on trail conditions.
Parks Canada contributes to the goals of Canada's National Conservation Plan by connecting Canadians with nature, fostering an appreciation for our national heritage, and building a "community of stewards" among Canadians of all ages. Canada's inspiring landscapes and historic sites are the launch pads of outstanding visitor experiences and learning opportunities. These special places resonate with Canadians, connecting them to the essence of our country, inspiring them to celebrate the uniqueness and care about the future of these national treasures.
- Some of the largest increases, percentage-wise, occurred during the winter months, which means more visitors than ever are creating lasting Banff National Park memories that can only be had in the snow.
- The Cave and Basin National Historic Site also saw an increase in visitation, thanks to corporate after-hours programs and unique events such as the #UncleJohnn Opera.
- Parks Canada is a major contributor to Canada's tourism industry, its visitors spending close to $3 billion each year. In Canada, the tourism industry is an $88.5 billion-a-year industry, an important driver of the economy, and employs over 625,000 Canadians.
- Founded in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada's first, and the world's third, national park. Spanning 6,641 square kilometres of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world's premier destination spots.
"Our Government is committed to conserving and restoring Canada's natural environment for present and future generations. We are proud to welcome millions of Canadians and visitors from around the world to connect with Banff National Park to experience nature and develop a personal connection to national parks."
Member of Parliament, Wild Rose
SOURCE Parks Canada
For further information: Jonathan Lefebvre, Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Mark Merchant, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Banff Field Unit, Parks Canada, 403-762-1526