Prince Albert National Park of Canada

Parks Canada Mandate and Responsibilities To Ecological Integrity

Aspen forest in summer.
Protecting ecological and commemorative integrity takes precedence in acquiring, managing, and administering heritage places and programs.
© Parks Canada/Kim Strange/PANP B627
 
Parks Canada Mandate and Responsibilities To Ecological Integrity

Ecological protection has been a responsibility of National Parks since proclamation of the National Parks Act in 1930. The Act has been amended a number of times since its enactment, yet Section 4,the dedication clause, has remained consistent. The dedication clause states:

The National Parks of Canada are hereby dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education, and enjoyment, subject to this Act and the regulations, and National Parks shall be maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for future generations.
National Parks Act, 1930

The protection of park resources described in the dedication clause was strengthened with an amendment to the National Parks Act in 2000 where it states in section 8 (2):

Maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks.
National Parks of Canada Act, 2000

In the National Parks Policy, Guiding Principles and Operational Policies (1994) it states:

Protecting ecological and commemorative integrity takes precedence in acquiring, managing, and administering heritage places and programs.

These statements clearly indicate that Parks must maintain ecological integrity. The 1995 National Business Plan for Parks Canada has called for the preparation of benchmark statements on ecological integrity. These statements, with their goals, objectives, and indicators will allow Park managers to monitor their progress and identify areas of concern relating to the ecological integrity of their respective Park. This progress will be reported through the State of the Park Report every two years.

In 1998 the Minister responsible for Canadian Heritage established a panel to examine ecological integrity in National Parks. Their report was released in March 2000. Their recommendations and the Ministers response to the Panels Report will be addressed during the review of Prince Albert National Park Management Plan.