This week’s announcement of federal government layoffs featured a lot from Parks Canada. And then, a day later, the agency announces they’re going to sell off three of its most iconic attractions. Now I admit, I work for the union that acts on behalf of the people losing their jobs at Parks Canada. But the parks and wilderness lover in me is also outraged.
I haven’t been to a lot of Canada’s National Parks – Bruce Peninsula and Gros Morne are two that come to mind – but I have noticed how great Parks Canada is at protecting the wilderness even as they run organizations and facilities that allow millions of visitors through it every year.
I dare say, they’re better at it than Parks Ontario. Don’t get me wrong I think Parks Ontario does a pretty good job, but it’s little touches like keeping tent pads out of sitelines, rules and regs that reduce wear and tear on campsites, better garbage and washroom facilities etc that I recall from my visits to federal parks that made me think, ‘I wish they did this in Algonquin or Killarney’.
It would seem that’s about to change. From the garish glass-walled walkway they’re planning to drive into the side of a mountain, to the private spas they’re planning on making out of the hot springs, it seems a new age is dawning at Parks Canada.
I wonder if they’re going to try to monetize the elk somehow. Perhaps by shaving corporate logos into their fur.
Not everything has to make a profit for crying out loud. Indeed the profit motive kinda runs at cross purposes with the notion of conservation. Canada’s Parks haven’t won awards or been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites because of the clever integration of vending machines into old growth pines.
They’ve become world-reknowned because of the careful preservation and stewardship carried out over decades by dedicated staff, tens of hundreds of whom learned this week they may no longer be wanted.