Progress Report on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks


Chapter 11. Enjoyment and Appropriate Use
Panel Recommendation Considerations Action
(11-1) We recommend that Parks Canada develop a formal assessment program for assessing activities in national parks with ecological integrity as the determining factor. This assessment should ... The Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies currently provide national direction on the issue of appropriate activities in national parks. Parks Canada has also developed and is using a Proposed Framework for Assessing Appropriateness of Recreation Activities in Protected Heritage Areas, which includes a list of allowable activities. Some park management plans list activities appropriate for that park. UNDER WAY. Parks Canada will prepare an updated framework for assessing outdoor recreation activities at the field level. The primary bases for assessing activities will be compatibility with ecological integrity and providing opportunities for appreciation of national park values. Any proposed new activities will be assessed at the national level in terms of their allowability. Park management planning processes will assess the appropriateness of activities, with public consultation, and determine which activities will be offered and under what conditions.
(11-2) We recommend that Parks Canada phase out inappropriate recreational uses of national parks, over time and as opportunities arise, including those that are deemed "non-conforming uses." (See also recommendations in Chapter 12.) Note: this recommendation is related to recreational activities and does not include traditional activities that are part of a park establishment agreement. In the past, certain recreational activities have been phased out after studies and public consultations demonstrated they were no longer appropriate (e.g. rafting on the Maligne River in Jasper National Park). Parks Canada will review the appropriateness of activities at the field level during the park management planning process and involve public consultation. As a result, inappropriate uses will be phased out over time and as opportunities arise. There is no intention, however, of removing uses such as existing golf courses and ski hills, which have a significant history. Efforts will continue to further mitigate and reduce their ecological impacts, and to improve vistor experiences.
(11-3) We recommend that Parks Canada adopt demand management as an explicit policy, provide increased support for social and natural science research related to demand management, and address demand management in each park's Park Management Plan and interpretation programs, so that visitors and other audiences can understand why they should support demand management. Parks Canada currently uses a variety of direct (e.g. activity restrictions, limits to group sizes) and indirect (e.g. facility design) strategies to manage growing numbers of visitors to national parks. These actions are described in park management plans and community plans which are developed with public consultation. A workshop on demand management was held in 1999 and a series of recommendations was made about improving Parks Canada's use of human use management strategies. UNDER WAY - FUNDING. Parks Canada will continue to improve its use of demand management to influence visitor use. The revised Parks Canada Guide to Management Planning requires that park management plans more explicitly address demand management. The upgrading of social science capacity to support activities, such as enhanced demand management, has been addressed in the implementation strategy that has been prepared for government consideration as part of the normal budget process. The extent and timing of upgrading this capacity are subject to the availability of new funding.
(11-4) We recommend that Parks Canada develop a national directive to define "basic and essential services." Suggested wording appears in Appendix C. The Parks Canada Guiding Principles and Operational Policies currently call for the provision of basic and essential services in national parks. The determination is made on a park-by-park basis in management planning and during community planning. A model has been developed in the Banff Management Plan, and the Field and Lake Louise Community Plans. UNDER WAY. A review of definitions under the Guiding Principles and Operational Policies will be conducted. The revised Parks Canada Guide to Management Planning requires basic and essential services to be defined in the park management plan, after public consultation.