BANFF, Alberta, March 6, 2015 /CNW/ - Mr. Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced an initiative that would see the historic return of the plains bison to Banff National Park. This investment is designed to support Canada's National Conservation Plan (NCP).
The NCP, launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on May 15, 2014, provides a shared and coherent vision to advance conservation efforts across the country. The investment of $6.4 million over five years being announced today will directly contribute to the NCP by taking concrete action in two priority areas: to restore ecological integrity and connect Canadians with nature.
This project will reintroduce a small herd of plains bison in Banff National Park. A keystone species that has been absent from the park since its establishment, plains bison once played a key role in the park's montane ecosystem.
Through this project, Parks Canada will provide Canadians with an opportunity to connect with this iconic species. In addition, Parks Canada will invite First Nations to share traditional knowledge of plains bison, and participate in stewardship, management and celebrations and will engage students and volunteers to participate in bison research, monitoring and stewardship activities.
Conservation and restoration initiatives in our national parks provide amazing opportunities for Canadians to connect with nature and for stakeholders and partners — including Aboriginal partners — to work together. With these projects, Parks Canada is standing up for Canada by restoring native species and natural ecological processes back into these jewels of the Canadian landscape and therefore creating opportunities for visitors to connect with nature.
"Our Government is taking action to protect our rich natural heritage for all Canadians now and in the future. Successfully restoring this keystone species in Banff will allow visitors, neighbours and the public at large to experience an authentic national park experience."
Mr. Blake Richards
Member of Parliament for Wild Rose
SOURCE Parks Canada
Image with caption: "By the 1890s it is estimated that fewer than 2000 bison survived in North America. The near loss of this animal made agricultural settlement of the great plains possible and forever changed the relationship between humans, bison and the land in which they live (CNW Group/Parks Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150306_C4791_PHOTO_EN_12871.jpg
For further information: Office of the Minister of the Environment, 819-997-1441; Media Relations, Parks Canada, 855-862-1812, www.twitter.com/parkscanada; Mark Merchant, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Banff Field Unit, Parks Canada, 403-762-1526