Saskatchewan’s Parks Facing Growing Threats to their Ecological Health


Saskatchewan’s Parks Facing Growing Threats to their Ecological Health:


CPAWS’ 2012 State of Canada’s Parks Report


Ottawa –  In the run-up to Canada Parks Day on the 3rd Saturday in July, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is releasing a sobering report  about the growing threats our parks are facing. The report highlights the dangers to our parks due to funding cuts; the loss of science and ecological monitoring capacity; and the growth of inappropriate developments within and adjacent to many current and proposed parks.
“In Saskatchewan, this discouraging trend is in strong evidence. For example, woodland caribou in Prince Albert National Park are now in serious jeopardy due to the continued forest harvest practices in the area immediately surrounding the Park”, says Gord Vaadeland, Executive Director for CPAWS-Saskatchewan.

“Across the country, the trend is extremely discouraging this year. Parks Canada has been hit hard by funding cuts,  leading to the elimination of 638 positions across the country. In turn this means that nearly 30% of the scientists and technicians restoring and monitoring the ecological health of our parks have been fired or reassigned.  The cuts also mean many parks are cutting their seasons shorter, opening the door to inappropriate use of them with no supervision,” says CPAWS National Executive Director Eric Hebert-Daly.
“Not only are our parks facing growing threats to their ecological health from the funding cuts, the tourism community and nearby communities are also facing economic harm.  The government’s own research shows that for every $1 spent on parks, $5 is contributed to Canada’s gross domestic product. Why isn’t the government recognizing the important benefits that result from investing in our parks?” adds Hebert-Daly.
Challenges facing Saskatchewan's parks
“We are very concerned that if the current land use practices continue around the perimeter of Prince Albert National Park, the caribou could disappear from there within a decade”, adds Vaadeland, also a 3rd generation rancher in the area near Prince Albert National Park.  

CPAWS has been issuing an annual report on the state of Canada’s parks since 2008. The first report lauded the rate of new parks creation by the federal government that year. Subsequent reports noted the slowdown in parks creation, the need to increase the number of marine protected areas, and some inappropriate developments that were starting to be noted.

View full executive summary and full report here

For interviews, contact: Gord Vaadeland, gvaadeland@cpaws.org, (306)469-7876/(306)469-2356.