5.1 Protecting Cultural Resources
By linking past and present, cultural resources help us appreciate the human experience and understand who we are as Canadians. Parks Canada defines a cultural resource as "a human work, or a place that gives evidence of human activity or has spiritual or cultural meaning, and that has been determined to be of historic value.” It applies this definition to a wide range of resources, sites, structures, engineering works, artifacts and associated records.
Parks Canada is committed to the identification, protection and presentation of a wide range of cultural resources. This commitment is supported by the new Canada National Parks Act (2000), Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act (1988), National Archives Act (1987), and National Parks Regulations. Parks Canada’s Cultural Resource Management Policy (1994) sets out five principles for the management of cultural resources: value, public benefit, understanding, respect and integrity.
The 1997 State of the Parks Report indicated that the artifact collection required data management and condition evaluation. Since that time a Resource Description and Analysis has been completed and archaeological surveys continue to be conducted as indicated in section 5.1.3. Better research will improve cultural resource protection and support Parks Canada’s efforts to reflect the parks’ history in presentation programs and heritage tourism initiatives.
5.1.1 Strategic Goals
Cultural resources are preserved, protected and presented.
Parks Canada and First Nation communities work together to build relationships and develop opportunities for First Nations' people to present their heritage.
- To work toward a fuller understanding of community histories as they relate to the national parks and historic site
- To strengthen links between the parks and local communities.
- To continue archaeological research.
- To manage all park cultural resources in accordance with the Parks Canada Cultural Resource Management Policy.
5.1.3 Key Actions
- Form partnerships and work with volunteers to share information, fund research and record the oral history of mining, highways, trails, avalanche control, Glacier Siding townsite, backcountry cabins, mountaineering, internment camps, Aboriginal traditional use, trapping, etc.; incorporate the information into heritage presentation programs.
- Develop a heritage building conservation plan for Eva Lake shelter, Glacier Circle cabin and the Mount Revelstoke fire tower.
- Work with local First Nations to undertake archaeological research, including a high altitude survey, on Aboriginal use of the parks.
- Conduct archaeological research on post-contact history, such as mining activities.
- Identify priorities and develop a program to appropriately manage vegetation in ways that protect cultural resources.
- Intervene in the parks’ natural processes where necessary to prevent the loss of or damage to significant cultural resources (e.g., the stabilization of a railway bridge involves changes in streamflow, but also reflects consideration of bull trout spawning requirements).
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