Working towards a sustainable future: Parks Canada launches largest public discussion

From January 9 to 27, 2017 Canadians will shape the future of national parks and heritage sites

Parks Canada has launched their largest consultation ever to get feedback on how to preserve national parks and heritage sites for future generations.

On Monday, the “Let’s Talk Parks, Canada” campaign debuted as part of the celebrations for the country’s 150th birthday.

Canadians can have a say in the future of these heritage sites simply by providing feedback on the Let’s Talk Parks Canada website or by holding their own event through a Do-it-Yourself kit, which is available online.

Alain Joseph, who manages the Sustainable Research Lab for the Nova Scotia Community College’s Applied Research Department, says he supports the campaign because of its focus on encouraging youth to have a voice in the preservation of parks for future generations.

“I think this is a really good move. There’s a new generation of young people who might not have had experiences in the park system,” he said. “There’s a lot of focus on digital and social media and online binge watching Netflix etc. So it’s pretty easy for kids to miss out on that experience.”

In particular, Joseph thinks the campaign’s hashtag (#TalkParks) will encourage youth specifically to have a voice.

22-year-old Samantha Firth recently received her Parks Canada Discovery Pass in the mail, which allows free access to Parks Canada sites throughout the country. And for the first time in years she plans on visiting national parks this summer.

Like Joseph, she says social media is an important tool for engaging youth in nature.

“I think with social media and hashtags especially its easier for the younger generation to comment,” she said.

When asked what her thoughts were on the future of parks in Canada, she couldn’t help but express her passion for the outdoors.

“I grew up on the ocean and I use to go to Cape Breton every summer. I just love being in nature,” she said.

Joseph offered advice to his country.

“We all need to be proud of the country we live in, and national parks are part of that identity as they represent the natural world,” he said. “We have to stay proud of it and take care of it.”

A public discussion will be held by Parks Canada in Halifax on January 27, 2017 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.