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Conservation Groups Celebrate Passage of Law that Strengthens Protections for Rouge National Urban Park

Conservation Groups Celebrate Passage of Law that Strengthens Protections for Rouge National Urban Park

Ecological integrity becomes priority in management of park today. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Ottawa (June 20, 2017) - CPAWS and Nature Canada celebrate a major achievement today for Rouge National Urban Park- Bill C-18 received Royal Assent from the Governor General. The law means ecological integrity will be the first priority in management of Rouge National Urban Park. It meets a key request from leading conservation groups in Canada that the federal government prioritize nature conservation in law for the park. "How sweet it is," says Janet Sumner, Executive Director for CPAWS Wildlands League. "After five years, we are that much closer to achieving our dream of building a truly amazing protected ecological connection for wildlife between the Oak Ridges Moraine and Lake Ontario in the Toronto area," Sumner added.‎ Nature Canada and CPAWS thank Minister Catherine McKenna and her team for leading the amendment process. "We couldn't have done it without the extraordinary leadership and commitment by Minister McKenna and her team to the park," said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director of Nature Canada. The minister made it a priority early in her mandate to strengthen the legislation and find a path forward that includes all involved. The groups are pleased with the result. "The law now meets the international definition of a protected area and ensures the park will have the best chance at long term success given its densely urban surroundings," Fast added. The groups also look forward to working with the farmers in the park on stewardship. Nature Canada and CPAWS have worked closely with both Canada and Ontario to ensure the full potential of Rouge National Urban Park can be achieved. "What an amazing gift this is to Canadians," says Éric Hébert-Daly of CPAWS. "The Rouge is a special place where everyone: newcomers to Canada, friends and families who love the outdoors and those who are just getting to know nature in their own backyard can connect with nature," added Hebert Daly. The Rouge protects a rare Carolinian Forest, is home to over 1,700 species of plants and animals including 23 species at risk. Because it is located in the heart of the GTA, this natural gem will also be an important gateway for residents and visitors to learn about Canada's national park system and the important role it plays in protecting Canada's biodiversity.

For more information please contact:  Janet Sumner, Executive Director CPAWS Wildlands League 416-579-7370 (mobile) Eleanor Fast Executive Director, Nature Canada 613-314-8713 (mobile) Éric Hébert-Daly National Executive Director, CPAWS 613-569-7226 ext 228

Nature Groups Team Up to Urge Protection of More Endangered Spaces

Nature Groups Team Up to Urge Protection of More Endangered Spaces

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] Nature Canada, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and provincial and territorial nature groups have teamed up to urge Canadian governments to ramp up the establishment of protected areas to meet Canada’s international obligation to protect at least 17% of our land and inland waters by 2020.Image of Proposed Protected Areas button In a February 17, 2017 letter, Canada’s nature groups congratulated federal, provincial and territorial ministers meeting on February 21-22 for committing to the Pathway to Canada Target 1 initiative to expand Canada’s protected areas network.  These ministers have established a national steering committee chaired by Parks Canada and Alberta Parks to lead the initiative. In the letter, we urged governments to:

  • Start by implementing existing commitments and proposals to establish protected areas;
  • Develop an action plan to achieve the 17% target  for each province and territory as well a federally;
  • Focus on the quality of protected areas to be established in terms of design, management and connectivity, as well as quantity of lands to be protected;
  • Work with Indigenous governments and communities to establish Indigenous and co-managed protected areas;
  • Pursue opportunities to establish protected areas that can serve as carbon sinks and serve as natural solutions enabling adaptation to global climate change; and
  • Look beyond the 17% by 2020 target to scale up protection, because biodiversity in Canada needs more than the 17%.
Nature Canada is collaborating with provincial nature groups as well as CPAWS  to identify specific lands and inland waters that need protection and generate public support. Our view is that Canada will only achieve its 17% international target for protected areas if Canadians demand it, loudly and firmly. To raise awareness on this issue, consider writing a letter to your local editor on protecting and saving our critical wilderness areas.
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