By David F. Rooney
Creating a new Park Management Plan for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks and Rogers Pass Historic Site is the No. 1 priority for Parks Canada staff and they can’t do it without significant public input, says National Park Superintendent Karen Tierney.
“The management plan is our contract with the public,” she said in an interview. “So what we are looking for is to create a document with the public and to be accountable to the public on what is written in that plan. We’ll report on it to the public on an annual basis.”
The last Park Management Plan, which is a document intended to “provide a vision of the parks at their future best and the strategies for getting there,” was drawn up in 2005 and established several goals. Among them were:
- protecting old-growth forests;
- protecting valley bottom wetlands; and
- developing fire management objectives in consultation with stakeholders.
Tierney said public consultations will begin next week with a public workshop in Revelstoke on July 30 at the Community Centre from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. There is will also be a number of open houses and other events for the public. And it’s not just here in Revelstoke. There is also a workshop scheduled for Golden on July 28 at the Kicking Horse Civic Centre.
“We need to have the public take ownership and be the stewards of the plan,” she said. “I think it’s a unique challenge and a unique opportunity… to get the public’s views, the public’s values and stories and then incorporate them into the plan.”
This is not as simple as it sounds. Tierney said there are, in effect, three distinctly separate groups of park users.
“There is the first group that views the park on the drive through the (Rogers Pass) corridor. Then there are the people who use the frontcountry trails so they’re just stepping out into the edge of the wilderness experience. Then there are the true backcountry users who are deeply immersed in the wilderness.”
These different segments of Parks Canada’s market are “driven by different expectations and desires,” Tierney, adding that Parks Canada needs to connect with the public over the long-term “so we’re relevant to them.”
“The current management plan made some very strong gains for us in terms of ecological integrity… where we now want to go is to bring those strengths forward and build on our visitors’ experience,” Tierney said. “How do we bring people into the park while protecting our resources?”
This park management plan will be part of an unbrella plan for all of the mountain parks, Tierney said. It has to be sent to the federal government and tabled in the House of Commons by March 2010.
For more information please go to the Environment Section and click on the Parks Canada Big Box in middle of the page or go directly to http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/revelstoke/plan/index_e.asp.