Creating new national parks

Canada’s network of national parks plays an important role in fighting climate change by protecting healthy ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk.

Strong relationships with Indigenous partners contribute to the process of reconciliation between Indigenous peoples, Parks Canada, and other Canadians. This is based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership. The creation of new protected areas provides an opportunity to advance strong relationships with Indigenous communities based on principles of shared stewardship and co-management.

Map of national parks and national park reserves in Canada

A wooden bench sits on a grassy hilltop. In the distance, mountains stretch for miles and miles.

Sunset atop Mount Kobau, within the working boundary of the proposed national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen

British Columbia
Photo: Rob Buchanan

Current proposals and feasibility studies

Pituamkek (Hog Island Sandhills)

Proposed national park reserve

Prince Edward Island
Photo: © Epekwitk Assembly of Councils

South Okanagan-Similkameen

Proposed national park reserve

British Columbia
Photo: Rob Buchanan

25% by 2025, 30% by 2030

Presently, 48 national parks protect approximately 336,362 square kilometres of Canada’s lands. This includes 10 national park reserves and one national urban park.

The Government of Canada is committed to establishing 10 new national parks in the next five years. Parks Canada will protect biodiversity and strive to conserve 25% of lands by 2025, working toward 30% by 2030. This will be achieved by working with Indigenous communities and governments on co-management agreements for these new national parks.

How new parks are created

A range of factors are reviewed when considering an area as a candidate for a new national park. These include:

  • cultural significance
  • biodiversity
  • landscape connectivity
  • level of representation within the current system plan
  • support of Indigenous communities and governments
  • support of relevant provincial or territorial governments

There is no rigid process for establishing new national parks. Each proposed project is unique and reflects local circumstances. The standard sequence, however, is framed by five steps:

  • 1 Identifying representative natural areas
  • 2 Selecting a potential area
  • 3 Assessing the feasibility of a national park, including consultations
  • 4 Negotiating agreements
  • 5 Establishing a national park under the Canada National Parks Act

Each step in the sequence is its own discrete process and takes a varying amount of time. As well, a project may be stopped at any point before reaching step-5. If a site is determined not to be feasible, then the selection of another potential area will take place.

Between steps 3 and 5, interim protection is granted to the lands in question. This means the area is temporarily protected from external development.

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