Increasingly, too, Parks Canada is looking at the country's
marine environments to identify conservation areas.
All are part of a grand plan to ensure that eventually
the country has National Parks representing every one
of its 39 terrestrial, and 29 marine, regions.
While falling under the overall mandate of the National
Parks System, the specific objectives of newly created
parks, like those of older ones, vary from region to
region. In the newest Northern parks, for instance,
sensitivity to and understanding of Aboriginal cultures
is key, and members of local communities help to provide
direction and carry out day-to-day operations in the
The taking of inventories is particularly important
in the first stages of park creation, because proper
planning requires early identification of a park’s
natural and cultural assets.
Nogait, this has meant a focus on locating and documenting
archeological sites. In Wapusk National Park –
established in 1996 and where Chief Park Warden Bob
Reside describes everything as “still wondrously
new” – an important focus is the cataloguing
of plant species. This has resulted in the identification
of plants that researchers did not know existed in this
area, including, it’s been discovered, species
that are similar to ones found only in Australia.
In the case of the National Marine Conservation Areas
(NMCAs), the creation of parks is driven mainly by concern
for the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. To this
end, Parks Canada has now created Fathom Five National
Marine Park, in Ontario (the oldest, established in
1987); and Saguenay-St. Lawrence National Marine Park,
in Quebec (around since 1998). A third area, Gwaii Haanas
National Marine Conservation Area