Elk Island National Park of Canada

Ecosystem Conservation Plan

From its origins in 1906 as a wildlife preserve, to today as one of Canada's 39 national treasures, Elk Island National Park is a haven for public enjoyment and a treasured example of the Southern Boreal Plains and Plateau natural region. Park management is committed to delivering on the national principles of ensuring ecological and commemorative integrity, service to the public, and the wise use of public funds. To this end, the 1999 Ecosystem Conservation Plan (ECP) has been developed to address natural resource planning and management in a comprehensive and orderly way, recognizing there are ecological, social, and economic factors to be considered.

The ECP flows from, and is derived with direction from, numerous documents such as the National Parks Act (1988), the Park Management Plan (1996), and the Park Business Plan (1998). Formal feedback on our progress and successes are reported yearly in the business plan, and every second year through Parliament in the State of the Parks Report.

During 1997, the Park underwent a thorough review of its management practices culminating in a workshop in August. From this workshop a clear vision and direction resulted, which has directly led to this plan. Threaded through our Park Vision are the notions of restoring key processes such as fire, herbivory and flooding, the necessity for applied management in our small park, the merit of the human footprint through time, constant adaptation of the landscape, and that our adaptive management must stem from a sound science and research program.

To ensure our future work continues to align with correct principles, the Park has put together a Science Advisory Committee, comprised of Park staff and leading experts in fields from ecology to archaeology. This committee forms the backbone of external review and feedback in ECP related matters. As a team we have accepted and drafted our ECP to conform to the new national standards of measurement and reporting. Inherent in these standards are viewing our ecosystem with an eye to the major categories of ecosystem processes (like fire), biodiversity (such as changes in species diversity) and stressors (human-caused changes).

As we move ahead in our ECP implementation, our successes will more and more be tied to the health of the Beaver Hills region as a whole. Co-operation with our adjoining neighbours in the broadest sense will feature prominently for the Park. The Friends of Elk Island Society have been leaders in this area to date.