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substantial: privately owned and operated low-density, roofed, visitor accommodation located on leased land, and which may provide associated services such as food or equipment rentals in support of the main function of providing visitor accommodation.

traditional: low-cost visitor accommodation that includes a variety of backcountry and frontcountry camping opportunities with related amenities; shelters; and privately operated hostels.

Active Management

Any prescribed course of action directed towards maintaining or changing the condition of cultural, physical or biological resources to achieve specific Parks Canada objectives.

Activity Policy

A set of policies governing one of the seven program elements of Parks Canada, which include National Parks, National Historic Sites, Canadian Heritage Rivers, National Marine Conservation Areas, Historic Canals, Federal Heritage Buildings and Heritage Railway Stations.

Appropriate Visitor Activity

An activity which:

  • is consistent with these policies and the protection of ecological and/or commemorative integrity of protected heritage areas;
  • is especially suited to the particular conditions of a specific protected heritage area; and
  • provides the means to appreciate, understand and enjoy protected heritage area themes, messages and stories.

Biosphere Reserves

Representative examples of landscapes, each with their characteristic plants, animals and human uses, which have been given an international designation under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), launched in November l97l by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Each biosphere reserve is made up of a protected "core" of undisturbed landscape (such as a national park), together with nearby areas showing some of the ways in which once-similar landscapes are being managed to meet human needs.

Canadian Heritage River

A river or section of a river which has been determined by the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board to have outstanding Canadian natural heritage, human heritage and/or recreational value.

Canadian History

The record of the entire human past in what is now Canada.

Canadian Parks Partnership

Formed in 1986 as a nation-wide alliance of volunteer cooperating associations, the Canadian Parks Partnership supports National Parks, National Historic Sites and Historic Canals in every province across Canada. It supports the department in accomplishing its mandate, enhancing programs, delivering messages and providing a vehicle for Canadians to participate in and have a sense of ownership of Canada's system of parks, national historic sites and canals. Revenue generated from products, corporate sponsorships and donations goes into the Partners Parks Fund to support and enhance Parks Canada's - programs (see Cooperating Association).


Ministerial recognition of the national significance of specific lands or waters by acquisition or by agreement, or by another means deemed appropriate within the Minister's authority for purposes of protecting and presenting heritage places and resources, erection of a plaque or monument.

Commemorative Integrity

A historic place (national historic site, heritage railway station, federal heritage building, etc.) may be said to possess commemorative integrity when the resources that symbolize or represent its importance are not impaired or under threat, when the reasons for its significance are effectively communicated to the public, and when the heritage value of the place is respected.

Condominium Ownership

A form of property ownership in which individual elements are owned by individuals, but common elements are held by all owners as tenants in common.

Cooperating Association

A registered, non-governmental, nonprofit corporation which provides services to the public at National Parks, National Historic Sites, and Historic Canals. Cooperating associations and their national umbrella organization, the Canadian Parks Partnership (CPP), are principal partners with Parks Canada in achieving its mandate for heritage protection and education. Through their voluntary efforts and shared objectives the constituency of support for Canada's system of parks and historic sites is greatly enhanced. Through the sale of theme-related products and the conduct of special events, an association may generate revenues for funding activities directly supportive of park, historic site or canal objectives (see Canadian Parks Partnership).

Cultural Landscape

Any geographical area that has been modified, influenced, or given special cultural meaning by people.

Cultural Resource Management

Generally accepted practices for the conservation and presentation of cultural resources, founded on principles and carried out in a practice that integrates professional, technical and administrative activities so that the historic value of cultural resources is taken into account in actions that might affect them. In Parks Canada, Cultural Resource Management encompasses the presentation and use, as well as the conservation of cultural resources.

Cultural Resource

A human work or a place which gives evidence of human activity or has spiritual or cultural meaning, and which has been determined to have historic value.

Ecological Integrity

A condition where the structure and function of an ecosystem are unimpaired by stresses induced by human activity and are likely to persist.

Ecological Integrity, Maintenance of

Managing ecosystems in such a way that ecological processes are maintained and genetic, species and ecosystem diversity are assured for the future.

Federal Heritage Building

Any federally owned building that has been designated by the Minister of Canadian Heritage under the Federal Heritage Buildings Policy.

Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office

An interdepartmental advisory body responsible for identifying which federal buildings merit designation as federal heritage buildings, and for monitoring the conservation and continued use of these buildings.

Heritage Railway Station

A railway station that has been designated as a "Heritage Railway Station" by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Heritage Area

A generic term used to signify those geographical areas which are included within the Parks Canada Program. These include National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas, National Historic Sites and Historic Canals.

Heritage Resources

A Heritage Area, or any natural or cultural features associated with Heritage Areas or potential Areas.

Heritage Tourism

An immersion in the natural history, human heritage, the arts and philosophy, and the institutions of another region or country that creates understanding, awareness and support for the nation's heritage.

Historic Canal

An administrative term referring to those canals operated by Parks Canada for purposes of navigation as well as for protection, enjoyment and interpretation of their cultural and natural heritage values. Many of these operating canals have been designated as national historic sites under the authority of the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, and are managed in accordance with the "administration, preservation and maintenance" clause of that Act.

Historic Museum

A museum established under the authority of section 3(c) of the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to commemorate a historic place.

Historic Value

A value assigned by Parks Canada to a resource, whereby it is recognized as a cultural resource. All resources have historical value; only those which are considered to have importance over and above the historical, have historic value.


Of, relating to, or of the nature of, history, as opposed to fiction. "Historical" refers more broadly to what is concerned with history, whereas the term "historic" refers to having importance in, or influence on, history.


A public building which offers low-cost, supervised, overnight accommodation for use by families, groups or individuals.

Indigenous Species

Organisms that occur naturally in a particular area instead of being introduced, directly or indirectly, by human activity.

Land Tenure Agreements

Any form of agreement including lease, licence of occupation or permits, that grants a right of occupancy of Parks Canada - administered lands from the Crown to the holder of the agreement.

Licence of Occupation

A licence granting a right of occupancy of specified lands for a specific purpose, without conferring any interest in the lands.

Management Plan

A document that constitutes the local expression of the general policies of the department and approved by the Minister following extensive public participation. This plan directs the long-term development and operation of a park, national historic site or canal. It constitutes a framework within which subsequent management, implementation and detailed planning will take place.

National Historic Site

Any place declared to be of national historic interest or significance by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

National Marine Conservation Areas

A designated marine area set aside in accordance with the National Marine Conservation Area Policy.

National Park

Natural area of land and/or sea, designated to (a) protect the ecological integrity of one or more ecosystems for present and future generations; (b) exclude exploitation or occupation inimical to the purposes of designation of the area; and (c) provide a foundation for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities, all of which must be environmentally and culturally compatible.

Source: "Guidelines for Protected Areas Management Categories" - IUCN - The World Conservation Union (1994).

In Canada, the word also means a national park as described in Schedule 1 of the National Parks Act. It is an area which has been identified as a natural area of Canadian significance, which has been acquired by Canada and designated by Parliament as a national park, and over which Parks Canada has been given administration and control under the authority of the National Parks Act. It is managed for the benefit, education and enjoyment of Canadians so as to leave it unimpaired for future generations.

Natural Areas of Canadian Significance (NACS)

A natural area which provides outstanding representation of the geology, physiography, vegetation and wildlife that is characteristic of its larger natural region. A potential national park is selected from among NACS within a natural region not represented in the system of national parks.

Park Conservation Plan

A management document that contains objectives and action plans for the protection and management of a park's natural ecosystems and components.


Activities, services and facilities that bring the public into direct or indirect contact with national historic sites, national parks and historic canals, and the resources associated with them.


The individual or organization intending to undertake a project or activity that is subject to the federal environmental assessment and review process.


With respect to ecosystems, it means regulatory, resource management and public education programs aimed at ensuring they are maintained in as natural a state as possible. In the context of cultural resources, protection has a range of meanings. It may refer to the basic maintenance of a resource, often as a preliminary to other work; it may be used as a synonym for preservation or conservation, or it may refer to an administrative regime under which a site/resource is managed or protected.

Protected Heritage Areas

Protected heritage areas are:

a) areas that have been accorded "protected" status, because of their natural or cultural qualities, through acquisition or application of land-use controls;
b) areas that have been recognized as having natural or cultural heritage value and which require some form of protected status in order to ensure their long-term protection.

In the former case, management practices flow from the protected status; in the latter, management focuses on the need to devise an appropriate form of protection status. "Protected Heritage Areas" include, but are not limited to, all the program elements and activities set out in this Policy.


A term used to indicate that a heritage resource (natural or cultural) has significance to all Canadians and warrants protection and presentation, either directly or indirectly, through one of the Parks Canada programs.

Seasonal Camping Area

An area in a visitor centre in which individual lots can be developed, and where moveable buildings can be placed, for a limited annual season under the authority of a seasonal camping permit; the permit gives no interest in the land to the permit holder. The areas exist only in the communities of Wasagaming in Riding Mountain National Park, and Waskesiu in Prince Albert National Park.

Seasonal Cottage Residence

The residential use of Parks Canada administered lands, held under a lease, which restricts occupancy of the cottage to a specified period of the year, normally April lst to October 31st.

Service Plan

A document that translates the conceptual direction of the Management Plan into a detailed offer of service to the public, with an implementation strategy.

Sustainable Manner

The use of resources in a way that ensures their integrity is not destroyed.

Sustainable Use

A general term meaning that people can gain direct and indirect benefits from heritage resources over the long term, without destroying them.

Visitor Activity Management Process

A decision-making framework used by Parks Canada to contribute to the preparation, integration and implementation of the public opportunity portion of management plans and service plans. This framework applies to both new and existing parks, historic sites or canals and assists in: identifying opportunities and assessing public needs related to public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment; visitor activities planning, definition of levels of service, and operation of facilities; and evaluation of effectiveness in providing service to the public consistent with the Parks Canada mandate.

Visitor Risk Management

A decision-making framework, based upon policy and directives, to structure visitor safety programs. Visitor risk management guides the development of a risk assessment and subsequent risk control measures. Visitor risk management determines appropriate levels of service to manage existing, new, potential, or shifting activity risk levels within a protected heritage area.

Visitor Activity

Educational or recreational pursuits that contribute to an understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of heritage resources.

Volumetric Representation

A representation that recreates the basic form (volume) of a cultural resource using techniques that do not entail the use of materials, details or construction methods of the original.


A person, or group, who has signed an agreement to contribute time and talent to complete a project without pay.


"An enduring natural area of sufficient size to protect pristine ecosystems which may serve physical and spiritual well being. It is an area where little or no persistent evidence of human intrusion is permitted so that ecosystems may continue to evolve." National Wilderness Colloquium (1988).

World Heritage Site

A cultural or natural site that is designated as having outstanding universal value by the World Heritage Committee, according to its criteria. The committee was established to oversee implementation of UNESCO's l972 World Heritage Convention.