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Oct. 25/05 Update on Ontario
New provincial parks and conservation reserves
Oct. 25/05 Toronto - The McGuinty government is
introducing new legislation that, if passed, would
ensure the permanent protection and ecological integrity
of Ontarios provincial parks and conservation reserves,
Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced today. The
new Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act
received first reading on October 25, 2005.
Algonquin left out in the cold - logging still allowed
Oct. 26/05 CPAWS - New parks legislation introduced in
the Ontario Legislature yesterday will help ensure a
healthy future for one of the province's greatest assets
our more than 600 provincial parks and conservation
Please fill out the Ontario Parks online survey before
midnight November 9, 2004:
Click here to fill out
Help us achieve a strong law to protect our parks
Sept. 9. 2004 The McGuinty government is
strengthening Ontario's parks and protected areas by
launching a major review of the province's parks
legislation for the first time in 50 years. The public is
invited to participate in modernizing the Parks Act by
either filling out an online survey by midnight November 9,
2004 or by submitting
written comments via the Environmental Bill of Rights
Registry before November 8, 2004.
MNR press release.
Ontario's new Protected Areas legislation must:
1 Put Nature First
Entrench ecological integrity as the
overriding principle guiding protected areas, making sure
that natural systems are healthy and intact
2 Prohibit industrial uses
Logging - from all protected areas including Algonquin
Mining - from all protected areas
3 Restrict and reduce roads
and all forms of motorized access
In the air
4 Prohibit hunting
This item has been added by the WildlifeOntario Group)
Given that the majority of people, in response to surveys,
felt that protection of habitat and wildlife was the
primary purpose of these designated areas, other than for
Aboriginal & Treaty rights, hunting should be prohibited.
It must also
Permanently protect boundaries
Provide Park managers with resources needed to ensure
parks remain healthy
Manage for the long term - dedication to future
Require regular reporting
Recognize Aboriginal & Treaty rights
Motorized access must be prohibited, restricted,
curtailed and land rehabilitated after roads and trails are
Why Ontario needs new
The rules for what can and cannot be done in our parks
are close to 50 years old. They say almost nothing about
what we must do to make sure that parks are healthy homes
for the wild species they are meant to protect. And they
leave many dangerous loopholes for industrial activities,
such as logging roads and gravel pits, or developments,
such as hotels or golf courses that can directly threaten
the very ecosystems that our parks are meant to protect.
When the Ontario Parks system was started in 1954,
Ontario had just eight parks. Now we have more than 600
parks and conservation reserves, but we still do not have a
law that puts these areas out of reach for development and
that makes protection of species and habitats the priority
in parks management.
What's the problem with the current situation?
Right now, the door is wide open to increased
development and ecosystem abuse within parks, including:
23 parks still face the potential threat of mining
Over 70% of Algonquin Park is open to logging
Road development, including gravel pits and logging roads
that cut through protected areas to access
Hotels, resorts and other large-scale accommodation
Expanded motorized recreation, including snowmobile and
all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use
Recreational development including golf courses and
How weak is current protection for our parks?
Today, parks can be eliminated at a meeting of the
provincial Cabinet at any time.
There are no requirements in the Parks Act to
Manage parks to protect habitat, even for endangered
Funding for the parks system has been cut significantly.
This has led to more and more emphasis on
generating revenue from parks instead of on protecting the
natural values of our protected areas.
Hundreds of our newest protected areas are Conservation
Reserves. These have no staff or
independent budgets and are managed under the Public Lands
Act instead of the Parks Act.
How can we improve protection for parks?
We must pass a Parks Act that makes the ecological
protection of parks the first priority in parks planning
and management. We need clear rules about what is
appropriate in parks and what is not and we should make the
protection of parks from industrial uses the law, not just
general policy. And we must give park managers the
resources they need to ensure that parks remain healthy.
MNR press release and backgrounder
Wildlands League press release
Problems with the current act:
What the new act should
Full details on the review
written submissions required by Nov. 8 2004.
Fill out the
Ontario Parks survey on what should be included in our new
parks legislation, by midnight Nov. 9, 2004