12.0 A PLACE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: ADMINISTRATION AND OPERATIONS
Mowing along the Trans-Canada Highway
© Parks Canada/Mas Matsushita/MRGNP collection #615-288-D-482
Environmental stewardship reduces the impact of our daily activities on the environment. The idea of stewardship includes a range of issues from water quality and energy consumption, to chemical use and contaminated sites. It also includes a wide variety of activities from recycling and reducing consumption to restoring disturbed landscapes.
An environmental management system (EMS) applies environmental stewardship to park management and operations. It ensures the greatest environmental risks receive the highest priority. Mount Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park and Rogers Pass National Historic Site have prepared an EMS and have undertaken recycling programs, fuel efficiency initiatives, and the clean up of contaminated sites. While Parks Canada is responsible for providing leadership in environmental stewardship, effective action requires broadly-based support from businesses and visitors.
The Government of Canada is committed to environmental stewardship. It requires every department or agency to meet or exceed environmental legislation, follow the best environmental practices, and implement a sound environmental management system. Many of the government’s commitments to the greening of government operations have been formalized through amendments to the Auditor General’s Act and the appointment of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. As a result, Parks Canada now reports to Parliament on its progress in fulfilling its environmental responsibilities.
12.1 Strategic Goals
Parks Canada demonstrates sound environmental and culturally sensitive practices and minimizes the impact of its operations on ecological and commemorative integrity.
Environmental stewardship is fundamental to the operation of all businesses and institutions.
Visitors and residents contribute to environmental stewardship and sustainability.
- To optimize the use and utility of existing infrastructure and reduce the operational footprint where possible.
- To rank projects in terms of their contribution to ecological integrity, commemorative integrity and public safety.
- To reduce the intrusiveness of park operations.
- To achieve maximum durability, lifespan and efficiency in the design and construction of all retrofits and new structures.
- To adopt best practices for maintenance.
12.3 Key Actions
- Remove any infrastructure that is no longer required or of no significant cultural heritage value, and rehabilitate the site.
- Upgrade aging infrastructure based on improving ecological integrity, commemorative integrity and public safety.
- Upgrade the wastewater treatment plant at Rogers Pass to meet current standards.
- Evaluate ways to reduce the impact of park operations (e.g., the use of helicopters and snowmobiles and the care and handling of animals).
- Complete a water management plan; monitor potable water to ensure standards are met; protect the backcountry watersheds that serve Parks Canada drinking water supply systems.
- Implement the parks’ environmental management system.
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