Resource Use in Canada’s Provincial and National Parks

Tony Iacobelli
May 5, 1992

Introduction

Between 0.6% and 9.3% of provincial lands exist as more protected wilderness areas, wilderness zones or protected national parks. These protected areas comprise between 48% and 95% of total park lands in the provinces.
Commercial timber harvesting occurs in Manitoba’s provincial parks, two Ontario provincial parks, and one national park (Wood Buffalo National Park). Mineral extraction occurs in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia parks. Oil and natural gas wells are found in four Alberta parks, in two Saskatchewan parks and in one Manitoba park. Commercial development in parks takes the form of ski hills, golf courses, miniature golf, hydro dams, cottages, and concessions. Widespread sport fishing in Canada’s park system is recognized as a threat to fish population in several national parks.
Total park lands comprise between 1% and 9.7% of provincial lands. A number of non-government organizations, most notably the CanadianParks and Wilderness Society and the World Wildlife Fund of Canada, have lobbied for the completion of Canada’s parks system. The goal set forth by these organizations calls for the protection of 12% of Canada’s land area by the year 2000, a recommendation of the United Nations Bruntland Comission. The preservation of natural habitats and biodiversity is the primary objective of the call to complete the parks system.

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