Pathway to Canada Target 1, biodiversity, conservation, 2020, Canadian
Protected areas play a critical role in Canada’s efforts to conserve nature. They protect important parts of Canada’s ecosystems, maintain essential ecosystem services, safeguard habitat and provide opportunities for tourism, recreation, and connections with nature.
Canada's First Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area
In July 2018, the Dehcho First Nations established the Edéhzhíe Protected Area, on the Horn Plateau, on the west side of Great Slave Lake, southwest of Yellowknife. The creation of the Edéhzhíe Protected Area marks the designation of the first Indigenous Protected Area since the inception of the Pathway to Canada Target 1. The area will also be designated as a National Wildlife Area in 2020. These measures together secure the protection of more than 1.4 million hectares (14,218 sq. km) of boreal forest lands and waters, protecting important wildlife such as Caribou, and bringing Canada closer to the goal of 17% by 2020. The area will be managed by a consensus management board with the Canadian Wildlife Service, in partnership with Dehcho K’ehodi Indigenous Guardians.
World's Largest Boreal Protected Forest
On May 15, 2018, several new and/or expanded wildland provincial parks were announced in northern Alberta: Kazan, Richardson, Dillon River, Birch River and Birch Mountains. These provincial parks contribute more than 1.36 million hectares to the province’s protected area network. The Government of Alberta partnered with the Government of Canada, the Tallcree First Nation, Syncrude, and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to create these parks. This historic achievement shows what can be accomplished when governments, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations work together.
Goose Island and Grand Island provincial parks, Manitoba
The Manitoba government designated Goose Islands and Grand Island provincial parks on June 16, 2017. Located in the northern basin of Lake Winnipegosis, these islands are characterized by a range of habitats including mud flats, marshes, cliffs, ridges and mixed wood forest stands. These habitats support a diversity of wildlife species and in particular they provide important nesting habitat for double-crested cormorants, Caspian terns, common terns, ring billed gulls, herring gulls and American white pelicans.
Castle parks, Alberta
The boundaries of the expanded Castle Wildland Provincial Park and the new Castle Provincial Park have been set, bringing one of the most biologically diverse areas in Alberta under provincial protection. The Castle area is home to over 200 rare or at‐risk species located on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta, near British Columbia and Montana.
Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Nunavut
Covering 62,928 square-kilometres, this protected area is the biggest in Canada. Established in 1961, this sanctuary is an important area not only for the geese that travel to it yearly to nest and raise their chicks, but also for the many other species of migratory birds as well as other wildlife. The value of this site for migratory birds is highlighted not only by its designation as a migratory bird sanctuary, but by the fact that it is also designated as the Queen Maud Gulf Ramsar Site, Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat Site, Important Area for Birds in Nunavut and as part of the Queen Maud Gulf Important Bird Area.
Wildlife crossings at Banff National Park
When it was decided that the portion of the Trans-Canada Highway passing through this 6,641 square-kilometre park would be upgraded from two lanes to four, the creation of wildlife crossing structures and related research quickly became a top priority. Today, with six overpasses, 38 underpasses and 82 kilometres of highway fencing, Banff National Park has the highest number of wildlife crossing structures and highway enclosure fencing in a single location in the world.
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area protects the American Bulrush marshes that are the primary habitat of the Greater Snow Goose during their migration. Each spring and fall, tens of thousands of geese land in this protected area and join the more than 180 other bird species that call this site home. As well as providing protection for the wildlife that depends on this site, Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area offers through the Connecting Canadians to Nature initiative the opportunity for the public to enjoy various outdoor activities and witness the spectacular bi-annual Snow Goose migration.
Canadian Biosphere Reserves
Biosphere reserves are created in areas of high conservation value, where the surrounding community has pledged to protect biodiversity, cultural heritage and uphold the principles of sustainable development. Each biosphere reserve is centered on a protected area and balances conservation needs and human enjoyment. Canada is currently home to 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves, which can be found all across the country and include areas such as Southwest Nova in Nova Scotia; Niagara Escarpment in Ontario; Lac-Saint-Pierre in Quebec; and, Riding Mountain in Manitoba, just to name a few!
Connecting Canadians with Nature at Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area
There is growing recognition of "nature-deficit disorder", a term used to describe the adverse personal, family, community and societal impacts that human beings suffer when they are disconnected from nature. Parks and protected areas are vital tools to help people get back outside and the Connecting Canadians with Nature initiative aims to do just that. By increasing the programming and facilities available at certain accessible sites across Canada, this initiative aims to provide opportunities for Canadians to engage in nature. One such site is Lake Saint-François National Wildlife Area, located approximately 120 kilometres from Montreal, Quebec, where you can explore in canoes or kayaks, hike along the 10-kilometres of trails or even try geocaching!
Alberta Parks Antelope Hill Provincial Park
After a private donation of 3.8 square-kilometres of undisturbed native grasslands, the Province of Alberta announced the creation of Antelope Hill Provincial Park. Located in east-central Alberta, this park protects an area of high ecological value, including healthy native northern fescue grasslands. In the future, this park will be a place where people can hike, see wildlife and appreciate nature.