National Parks: The Pressures of Development

by Cped101 on November 28, 2016 - 2:37pm

National Parks: The Pressures of Development

This is a very interesting and informative broadcast by CBC News. It focuses on the pressure’s that National Parks, particularly in Canada, are facing from development. The Canadian iconic national parks are known globally for their pristine and untouched environment (CBC News, 2016), characteristics that are very appealing to both native travelers and those who have traveled from abroad. However, Canada’s national parks are facing the stressors of an on-going battle with commercial operators (CBC News, 2016). Ultimately, commercial operators believe that the parks need more development, such as tourist’s attractions, to gain higher rates in tourists. However, this plan for development goes against exactly what a national park should be. As conservationist, Harvey Lonk explained in his interview with CBC, “the idea that national parks are here to serve commercial operators is wrong. They are here to serve nature, people, and those who want to experience nature” (CBC News, 2016). This is the same idea that Park’s Canada stands by; they want to enable more Canadians to experience the outdoors and to learn about the environment (CBC News, 2016). Some of the projected development plans include a bicycle path between Banff and Jasper; an area that goes straight grizzly bear and caribou habitats, the construction of 15 tent cabins on the unspoiled shores of Maligne Lake in Jasper park, and an expansion of the Lake Louise Ski resort; an area that is surrounded by protected habitats (CBC News, 2016). Evidently, there are a lot of potential plans of development pending in the future. To grasp a perspective on both the environmental and developmental concerns, Canada’s environment minister has created a round table to gain feedback to better understand each scenario and potential impacts that may occur (CBC News, 2016). An interesting component of the broadcast was hearing the feedback from travelers. They felt there needed to be a balance between preservation and development (CBC News, 2016). Many of them explained that development is needed but where do we draw the line (CBC News, 2016)?

In my opinion, I think it is important to gain feedback from the visitors. They are the ones visiting the park, their opinions should be valued. I agree that development is needed to an extent. I do feel that there needs to be a new management plan in regards to attracting more visits in a way that does not promote more development. Park’s Canada has invested in programs that promote educational activities on environmental awareness. For example, Learn to Camp is a program for New Canadians to learn about camping, basic survival skills, the importance of environmental preservation and to enjoy the natural beauty of the national parks (Parks Canada: Learn to Camp, 2016). This is an excellent method to promote ecological awareness for visitors. There are also a variety of youth programs that encourage children to embrace nature through fun activities outside (Parks Canada: Youth Programs, 2016). Perhaps if more people had the opportunity to have an individualized experience with nature at a younger age than maybe we would not be facing these issues on development.


Work Cited

Parks Canada. (2016). Learn-to Camp Experiences with Parks Canada and MEC. Retrieved from

The National, CBC News. (2016). National parks pressure. Retrieved from


I really like how you made the point about attracting more visitors to parks does not necessarily mean development. I am curious to what you think the balance should be with conservation ideals. How much should national parks serve to cater to people who want to visit them versus the environment itself. What happens when what is ecologically important isn't pretty or doesn't look the way people want nature to look? Is there a balance or is getting people into nature the goal so that they will feel the need to preserve it?

Great post! The balance between preservation and development of natural resources is a problem that is faced by people all over the world. The concern for maintaining an adequate income as well as sustaining the health of an ecological system is something that greatly interests me. In our class, Professor Roth showed us a video entitled, ‘Nature’s Invitation’ that showed the benefits of the Learn to Camp Program initiated by Park’s Canada. I believe that this program is a great way to get new Canadians to connect to the land, which results in an overall connection to the country. In the video, the immigrants were taken to Jasper National Park. They camped, rock climbed, fished and participated in many more outdoor activities. One man stated that in his home country he knew how to cope with stress, however when he came to Canada he no longer knew how. This program allows the immigrants to realize that time spent nature can relieve stress and anxiety and it even helps cope with ADHD. The program is an example a new and innovative way to get tourists/immigrants to more frequently visit Canadian Parks. I definitely agree with you that development of parks in Canada is needed to an extent. However, like you, I believe that instead of focusing on development we should be looking for new management plans such as the Learn to Camp Program.

Great post! As someone who has lived in several National Parks, I really enjoyed reading this and hearing about the visitors who rate preservation and development and equally important. I think that development is a controversial topic to people who live in or near a park and are in the environment of the park often. It is disturbing to see some of the natural elements of a park taken away. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that a lot of visitors are coming to see a pristine, undisturbed natural environment, and with the continuous development of parks, this sought-after aspect could be tainted. I also loved that you supplied alternate ideas for attracting visitors in your article- this supported your opinion of the issue. I would be intrigued to hear more research surrounding park attendance and development- has increased development had any correlation with increasing number of visitors?

Plans to develop inside national parks can be a slippery slope. On one hand, trying to better the experience for Canadians and visitors alike is the responsibility and purpose of Parks Canada. But on the other hand, the main purpose is to protect the ecological integrity of the parks for future generations. I agree with you that there is a balance that is needed to be found by the federal government and input needs to be heard from the visitors; but only to a certain extent. After all the main purpose for these parks is not just for the current population, but future generations. If current visitors ask for increased development to enhance their experience, it could destroy some of the natural beauty and ecological benefits. So the next generation won't be able to make the value based decision.