Some of our most beloved national parks are endangered from over-use and over development.
Prince Edward Island National Park is one of Canadas smallest national parks and most crowded. Each year 660, 000 people visit the thin strip of beach.
This park is home to the endangered piping plover and over 256 bird species. This summer the park plans to open an interpretive centre and expects to receive 100,000 more visitors.
The Federal and Provincial governments are failing to protect habitat of endangered species and time is running out according a report released by Canadian environmental groups. The report card is entitled "Act Accordingly: the 1999 Report Card on the implementation of the accord for the protection of species at risk.
"The biggest problem is the number of visitors," Jack Ricou, manager of interpretation and outreach for Parks Canada said. "Its difficult to keep the park wild."
Minimal impact practices can help reduce human impact on protected areas. Simple things like staying on designated trails, properly disposing of garbage and not feeding animals can help preserve wildlife.
"There is a greater need for education. As the country becomes more urban we have less understanding of the outdoors."
The National Park Services in the United States has partnered with Leave No Trace, Inc a non-profit organization that promotes minimal impact practices.
Their seven principles are:
This program has helped raise awareness about human impact on fragile ecosystems in the United States. Canadian parks face similar problems and are working to find solutions at regional levels.
National and provincial parks distribute to their visitors park tabloids, which are specific to their regions. They remind visitors of actions that could damage the park ecosystem.
Park brochures like "Keep the Wild in Wildlife", "You Are in Bear Country", as well as Visitor Guides and Vacation Planners are available at park visitor centres, tourist offices and on the web.
Planning ahead for your trip in the wilderness is the best way to practice minimal impact practices.
You can call the park and have brochures and maps sent to you. Park wardens can also advise you on weather conditions and forest fire hazards.
10 most endangered National Parks
Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
No Trace. Inc.
National Park Backcountry Camping guide
National Park, Backcountry visitors guide
the Wild in Wildlife
Are In Bear Country
Parks Mountain Guide, The Official Parks Canada Visitors Guide"
For a copy of Parks Canada Vacation Planners call:1-888-773-8888
For a copy of the Canoeist Code of Ethics call the Canadian Recreational Canoe Association at: 1-888-252-6292