6.1 Zoning in National Parks
The national parks zoning system is an integrated approach by which land and water areas are classified according to ecosystem and cultural resource protection requirements, and their capability and suitability to provide opportunities for visitor experiences. Management plans map national parks into zones that strike a balance between the capability of areas to sustain use and their need for protection.
Parks Canada's zoning system for national parks consists of five zones:
Zone I, Special Preservation, is for areas where public use may be controlled to protect especially important or fragile resources. No motorized access is permitted, including visitor air access.
Zone II, Wilderness, is for large areas that are good representations of the ecosystems of the park and will be maintained in a wilderness state. Motorized use is not permitted, although strictly controlled air access to remote areas may be permitted.
Zone III, Natural Environment, is for areas that are maintained in a natural state, although allowing for more use than Zone II Wilderness. Zone III allows for limited motorized access, usually by public transport.
Zone IV, Outdoor Recreation, is for areas capable of accommodating a broad range of opportunities for education, outdoor recreation and related facilities for visitor enjoyment, in ways that respect the natural landscape and the park environment. Motorized access is permitted.
Zone V, Park Services, is for park communities such as Banff and Jasper and major service or park administration centres.
In addition to the five zoning designations, Parks Canada policy provides for the designation of Culturally and Environmentally Sensitive Areas to complement the zoning system. These designations can be applied to areas which may require special recognition or management not provided through zoning designation. Park management plans may designate Culturally or Environmentally Sensitive Areas in any zone. Sensitive Area designation is useful for focusing and communicating objectives for research, protection and visitor experience for particular areas.
Consultation on the designation of zoning shall occur according to the IFA , the ANPEA and the National Parks Act.