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Management Plan

2.2 Public Consultation

The management planning process began during the fall of 2001. Announcements in local and regional papers, on the Internet and mail-outs to interested individuals, stakeholders, First Nations and staff invited people to participate in planning the future of their national parks and historic site. Staff prepared issue papers for discussion at stakeholder meetings. Open houses were held to gather comments and concerns and identify additional issues. All comments were recorded and a response document was circulated. In February 2001 all stakeholders, interested public, First Nations and staff received a plan concept. The final management plan incorporates the thoughts and concerns of a wide range of individuals and interests.

2.3 Planning in a Changing Environment

Many changes have taken place since the previous management plan was approved in 1995. It is now time to re-evaluate the issues and revise the plan accordingly. The following examples illustrate some of the changes in legislation, policies, plans and studies that have strengthened Parks Canada’s commitment to preserving park resources in a way that integrates ecological, social and economic values:

  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1995);
  • Canada National Parks Act (2000);
  • Species-at-Risk Act (2002);
  • Parks Canada Agency Act (1998);
  • Action Plan on Ecological Integrity (2000);
  • Parks Canada Guide to Management Planning (2000);
  • Banff National Park Management Plan (1997); and
  • Jasper, Waterton, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks of Canada Management Plans (2000)
Figure 1: Aerial view of leasehold and Parks Canada's facilities at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, planning for minimizing human impact on the natural landscape. Glacier Compound
© Parks Canada/Mas Matsushita/MRGNP collection

Figure 1: Aerial view of Rogers Pass with its Discovery Centre, Lodge, and staging area for park and highway maintenance.

Click here to view a larger version of this image (65 Kb) (This image is larger than 440 pixels)

2.4 Ecosystem-based Management

One of the biggest questions for national parks is how to maintain a healthy environment and protect important cultural resources while at the same time supporting quality visitor experiences and contributing to social and economic needs. To address this challenge, Parks Canada has adopted a system known as "ecosystem-based management."

Ecosystem-based management is a holistic approach that involves working with others to achieve common goals. Productive, positive, long-term relationships are the key to its success. Multi-disciplinary in nature, it seeks to integrate biological, physical and social information. The goal-a healthy park, environmentally, economically and socially within a broader regional landscape.

The following key components are the foundation for ecosystem-based management.

  • Ecosystems extend beyond park boundaries. Activities on neighbouring lands affect the parks' wildlife, water and vegetation. By the same token, park activities affect our neighbours. Integrated management is essential.
  • People are a fundamental part of the ecosystem. Addressing peoples' social and economic needs makes it possible for them to contribute to a healthy environment. Inside the park, these needs must be considered in the context of protecting ecological and cultural heritage. Outside the park, Parks Canada will encourage activities that incorporate heritage values.
  • Understanding the relationship between people and the environment is the foundation of good decisions. In pursuit of this, we derive inspiration and understanding from the human-land relationship of Canada's First Nations.
  • Visitor use respects the importance of protecting ecological and cultural resources. Parks Canada must carefully manage visitor use and development, setting limits where necessary.
  • Decisions are based on sound information (ecological, cultural and social). Benchmarks and parameters help us understand the parks' health.
  • Consulting with visitors, residents, businesses and other government agencies is a key component in improving ecological integrity and the protection of our cultural heritage.
  • Educational programs for visitors, residents, and businesses, inside and outside the park, create awareness of ecosystems, the challenges involved in protecting them, and the role people can play.
  • Natural processes and, where appropriate, technology are important in maintaining and restoring ecosystems.

The management plan is founded on these ecosystem management components. While individual chapters address different issues, the actions in each are linked.

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