Dear CPAWS Supporters,
On Monday, we released our 7th annual Parks Report assessing Canada’s progress towards its international commitment to protect at least 17% of our land and fresh water by 2020, and to improve the quality of our protected areas. This is an important next step towards CPAWS’ long term goal of protecting at least half of our public land and water. The bottom line is that Canada is falling behind most other countries, and urgently needs a plan to catch up!
Only 10% of Canada’s landscape is protected, compared with the global average of over 15%. If Canada continues at its current pace, it will take over 50 years, not five, to achieve 17% protection! With 90% of our landscape in the public domain, action by all levels of government is key to achieving these targets.
The percentage of land and freshwater protected varies dramatically across Canada, ranging from just under 3% in PEI, to more than 15% in BC. Since 2011, the area protected in Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Yukon Territory has not grown at all, and all other provinces have increased protection by less than 2%. BC’s progress is undermined by its 2014 Parks Act amendments that allow industrial research in parks and boundary changes to accommodate pipelines and logging.
However, there are reasons for optimism. CPAWS calculates that if existing proposals for new protected areas were fully implemented, Canada could reach 17% protection of our landscape by 2020. Over the next few months, CPAWS will highlight the findings of this report with governments across Canada, and encourage them to act quickly to create new parks and protected areas and meet our international commitments. As opportunities arise, we will let you know how you can help.
Yours in conservation,
National Director, Parks Program