Parks Canada is warning that it faces a growing challenge in remaining relevant to Canadians, so it plans to improve camping, accommodations, trails and amenities
The strategy for the coming few years is laid out in its 2016-17 report on plans and priorities, which details some of the challenges facing Parks Canada and how it hopes to engage Canadians at risk of becoming disconnected with nature. “Parks Canada is faced with the challenge of remaining relevant to Canadians, particularly in some of Canada’s largest cities. Changing demographics, which contribute to shifting leisure and tourism patterns, have had an impact on visitation to Parks Canada heritage places,” the agency says in the report.
….Parks Canada plans to:
- Offer new and unique camping experiences, develop and expand programs for children and families, offer “equipped camping” and expand the Learn to Camp program to help get more Canadians out to the parks;
- Develop new technology-based interpretive programs for teens and young adults that encourage exploration and provide various challenges;
- Launch a pilot project that offers day trips to select national parks in 2016 with a view to expanding the program in 2017;
- Develop user-friendly online planning tools and reservation capabilities to support trip planning;
Some of the specific investments planned for 2016-17 include improving the camping experience in Terra Nova, Cape Breton Highlands, Fundy, Forillon, Banff and Waterton Lakes national parks.
The agency will also further expand the oTENTik products – a cross between a tent and a cabin – at various parks, and along some heritage canals like the Rideau Canal. Parks Canada has promised to add 240 oTENTik accommodations over the next three years.