The Canadian federal government plans an aggressive expansion of the national parks system in Canada, adding 10 new national parks in the next five years, and creating five new marine conservation areas.
Canadian National Parks System
The goal of the Canadian National Parks System Plan is to protect the diversity of natural landscapes in Canada by having each of Canada's 39 natural regions represented by at least one national park. There are now 39 national parks representing 25 natural regions in Canada. The addition of the 10 new national parks will mean 34 out of the 39 natural regions will have a national park. With the addition of the new national parks, the Canadian national park system will have a total area nearly the size of Newfoundland and Labrador.
New National Parks in Canada
Of the ten new national parks, seven sites have been selected, and agreements have already been signed or proposals are in the works for:
- Gulf Islands, British Columbia
- East Arm of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories
- Bathurst Island, Nunavut
- Lowlands, Manitoba
- Ukkusiksalik, Nunavut
- Mealy Mountains, southern Labrador
- Torngat Mountains, Labrador.
Parks Canada is still identifying candidate sites in three other natural regions:
- Interior Dry Plateau in British Columbia
- Northern Interior Plateaus and Mountains
- Great Lakes-St. Lawrence, including southern Ontario.
New Marine Conservation Areas in Canada
The marine environment is extremely important to Canada, which has the world's longest coastline along three oceans and seven percent of the world's fresh water.
The goal of the Canadian National Marine Conservation Area System Plan is to have a least one national marine conservation area for each of the 29 marine regions in Canada. Canada currently has two operating national marine conservation parks - the Fathom Five National Marine Park in Ontario and the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park in Quebec.
Three priority marine conservation areas have been chosen for protection:
- Gwaii Haanas, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia
- Western Lake Superior
- Southern Strait of Georgia.
Two additional marine conservation areas will also be established in the next five years.