Funding will assist recovery from wildfire damages and ensure continued high-quality visitor experiences
CALGARY, Jan. 25, 2019 /CNW/ - Parks Canada places represent the very best that Canada has to offer. The Government of Canada is committed to protecting and restoring our national parks and encourages Canadians to connect with nature and our heritage.
Today, Kent Hehr, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, on behalf of Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced $20.9 million in funding for Waterton Lakes National Park to support its ongoing recovery from the 2017 Kenow Wildfire.
This investment in Waterton will help protect and monitor the park's ecosystems as they recover from this natural disturbance, support research on the park's cultural heritage in collaboration with Indigenous communities in various on-the-ground conservation activities, and help re-establish the park's visitor offer, so that Canadians can continue to discover and connect with this incredible place.
Key projects will include rebuilding damaged or destroyed infrastructure essential for visitor services, including rehabilitation of Red Rock Parkway, reconstruction of the Cameron Falls site and Bear's Hump trail, advancing Crandell Mountain Campground restoration, as well as an archeological research program to assess and analyze cultural landscapes and sites revealed by the wildfire.
Waterton Lakes National Park is open and continues to welcome visitors. Parks Canada is committed to providing high-quality and meaningful experiences to visitors and Waterton has many recreational opportunities for visitors this year.
The funds originally earmarked for the Icefields Trail project in Jasper National Park are being re-directed, including to priorities within Parks Canada such as the funding being announced today to support post-wildfire recovery in Waterton Lakes National Park.
"I am pleased to announce that the Government of Canada is investing $20.9 million in Waterton Lakes National Park to assist with recovery from the significant impacts of the 2017 Kenow Wildfire. We are committed to protecting the park's natural and cultural heritage and rebuilding important visitor infrastructure to ensure that Canadians can keep connecting with this special place, now and into the future."
The Honourable Kent Hehr,
Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre
"Canada's national parks play a critical role in shaping our national identity, protecting nature and wildlife, and fighting climate change. In 2017, the tireless efforts of Parks Canada and partner agencies ensured public safety and protected property in and around the community of Waterton Lakes, but the Kenow Wildfire had a major impact on other areas of the national park. The funding being announced today will make a significant contribution to the wildfire recovery efforts in Waterton Lakes National Park."
The Honourable Catherine McKenna,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
- In September 2017, the Kenow Wildfire burned roughly 20,000 hectares in Waterton Lakes National Park. The wildfire impacted approximately 38 per cent of the park, resulting in loss or significant damage to over 30 visitor experience and operational assets.
- Following the wildfire, Parks Canada secured fire-affected sites, reopened the Entrance Road and townsite after addressing immediate hazards, and initiated preliminary hazard, ecological, and damage assessments. Parks Canada has assessed and cleared hazard trees and repaired damage in the areas that are now open to the public.
- Waterton Lakes National Park continues to offer a wide range of special events, volunteer activities, and interpretation programs. To help visitors plan their trip, a full list is available, along with information on recreation opportunities, on our website: www.parkscanada.ca/waterton.
- The Government of Canada is pleased to offer free admission to all Parks Canada places for youth aged 17 and under. Parks Canada's national heritage places are a great way for Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn more about our environment and heritage.
SOURCE Parks Canada