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Canadian National Parks

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National Parks in Canada are managed by Parks Canada.

National Parks[edit]

There are 38 federally-operated National Parks, nine National Park Reserves, three National Marine Conservation Areas (NMCAs), one NMCA Reserve and one National Landmark. A shaded background indicates the park is part of a UNESCO World Heritage List site. National Park Reserves, areas subject to native land claims, are indicated by "(Reserve)".

Name Photo Location Area Established
Aulavik Northwest Territories 12200 km2 1992
Auyuittuq Pangnirtung Fiord S 2 2001-07-15.jpg Nunavut 19089 km2 2001
Banff Moraine Lake 17092005.jpg Alberta 6641 km2 1885
Bruce Peninsula CyprusLake - Bruce Peninsula.jpg Ontario 154 km2 1987
Cape Breton Highlands NS CapeBretonHighlands1 tango7174.jpg Nova Scotia 949 km2 1936
Elk Island Bison Elk Island.jpg Alberta 194 km2 1913
Forillon Forillon National Park of Canada 1.jpg Quebec 244 km2 1970
Fundy Fundy NP New Brunswick 1.jpg New Brunswick 206 km2 1948
Georgian Bay Islands BeausoleilIslandCedarSprings2004.jpg Ontario 14 km2 1929
Glacier Glacier np canada.JPG British Columbia 1349 km2 1886
Grasslands Saskatchewan - Grasslands National Park 02.JPG Saskatchewan 907 km2 1981
Gros Morne NLW GrosMorne4 tango7174.jpg Newfoundland and Labrador 1805 km2 1973
Gulf Islands
(Reserve)
Gulfislfromair.jpg British Columbia 36 km2 2003
Gwaii Haanas
(Reserve)
Haida Heritage Centre.jpg British Columbia 1495 km2 1988
Ivvavik Canada--yukon--ivvavik-np--spe 3021.jpg Yukon 10168 km2 1984
Jasper Fryatt Valley top.jpg Alberta 10878 km2 1907
Kejimkujik Kejimkujik NP Nova Scotia 3.jpg Nova Scotia 404 km2 1968
Kluane
(two units: a Park and a Reserve)
Donjek Valley.jpg Yukon 22013 km2 1976 (Reserve)
1993 (Park)
Kootenay Kootenay National Park.jpg British Columbia 1406 km2 1920
Kouchibouguac Kouchibouguac.JPG New Brunswick 239 km2 1969
La Mauricie Ile aux pins.jpg Quebec 536 km2 1970
Mealy Mountains Newfoundland and Labrador 10700 km2 2015
Mingan Archipelago
(Reserve)
Monolithes de L'Archipel de Mingan.jpg Quebec 151 km2 1984
Mount Revelstoke Revelstoke from Mount Revelstoke.jpg British Columbia 260 km2 1914
Naats'ihch'oh (Reserve) Howard's Pass Yukon Territory 1.jpg Northwest Territories 4850 km2 2014
Nahanni
(Reserve)
Nahanni - VirginiaFalls.jpg Northwest Territories 30000 km2 1976
Pacific Rim
(Reserve)
Longbeach prnp.jpg British Columbia 511 km2 1970
Point Pelee Point Pelee looking south.jpg Ontario 15 km2 1918
Prince Albert Prince Albert National Park.jpg Saskatchewan 3874 km2 1927
Prince Edward Island Peicoast.jpg Prince Edward Island 22 km2 1937
Pukaskwa HorseshoeBayPukaskwaPark23.jpg Ontario 1878 km2 1978
Qausuittuq Peary caribou - looking west towards Evan's Bay.jpg Nunavut 11000 km2 2015
Quttinirpaaq Tanquary Fiord 16 1997-08-05.jpg Nunavut 37775 km2 2001
Riding Mountain Bison herd - Lake Audy - Riding Mountain National Park.JPG Manitoba 2973 km2 1933
Rouge Little Rouge River Lookout.jpg Ontario 19 km2 2015
Sable Island SableHorses.jpg Nova Scotia 34 km2 2013
Sirmilik Sirmilik Glacier 2 1997-08-06.jpg Nunavut 22200 km2 2001
Terra Nova NLC TerraNova3 tango7174.jpg Newfoundland and Labrador 400 km2 1957
Thaidene Nene (Reserve) Northwest Territories Approx. 14000 km2 proposed
Thousand Islands National Park Thousand Islands 2.JPG Ontario 24 km2 1904
Torngat Mountains Nachvak Fjord Labrador 2008.JPG Newfoundland and Labrador 9700 km2 2008
Tuktut Nogait Hornaday River.jpg Northwest Territories 16340 km2 1996
Ukkusiksalik Eisbär 1996-07-23.jpg Nunavut 20885 km2 2003
Vuntut Vontut National Park.jpg Yukon 4345 km2 1995
Wapusk Bärenmutter & Junges 3 2004-11-17.jpg Manitoba 11475 km2 1996
Waterton Lakes Upper Waterton Lake.JPG Alberta 505 km2 1895
Wood Buffalo Wood-Buffalo-NP Gros Beak Lake 2 98-07-02.jpg Alberta
Northwest Territories
44807 km2 1922
Yoho YohoNP-Takakkaw IMG 1372-800x533byBMK.jpg British Columbia 1313 km2 1886

National Historic Sites[edit]

Parks Canada also operates some (but not all) of Canada's National Historic Sites [dead link]. A few are located within national parks, such as Banff or Jasper. Others among the more than 170 sites [dead link] operated by Parks Canada include:

Various smaller sites are listed in their host cities.

National Landmark[edit]

  • Pingo National Landmark, 5 km west of Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories.

Park entry fees[edit]

Most Canadian National Parks collect an entry fee; Canadian residents and international visitors pay the same price regardless of citizenship or place of residence. A few national parks are located in close proximity to other parks (such as Banff National Park or Yoho National Park, mountain parks on the Alberta-BC border); it is possible to visit several parks in the same day and only pay once as the paid entry fee is valid until 4PM the following day.

Visitor fees are used to enhance and maintain the parks and visitor services; they do not go to general government revenues.

As of March 2014, the entry fees were as follows:

  • $9.80 per day for an adult (aged 17-64)
  • $8.30 per day for a senior (aged 65+)
  • $4.90 per day for a youth (aged 6-16)

A group of 2-7 people travelling in a single vehicle can pay a group fee of $19.60 per day (the same price as two adults).

If visiting Canadian national parks for a week or more, it may be less expensive to purchase an annual Discovery Pass:

  • $67.70 for an adult
  • $57.90 for a senior
  • $33.30 for a youth
  • $136.40 for a family/group

A Discovery Pass [dead link] also includes admission to national historic sites operated by Parks Canada, such as the Banff Park Museum, Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Bar U Ranch, Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site and Fort Langley National Historic Site.

Parks Canada does not operate all of Canada's national historic sites. To add confusion, Québec uses "parc national" for both federal and provincial (SÉPAQ) parks, which are two entirely separate systems with non-interchangeable system passes. Due to its international, divided status the Thousand Islands has both a national park and a state park, part of separate systems in different countries.

In 2017, Parks Canada is offering a free sesquicentennial Discovery Pass for the year as a 150th birthday present. The pass covers federal park admission and passage of boats through the Rideau Canal, but does not defray other fees such as campsites, parking, docking or advance reservations.

Reservations[edit]

Campgrounds may be reserved in advance. Reservations open in January for the next Apr 1-March 31 period. Reservations are available from www.reservation.parkscanada.gc.ca or +1-877-RESERVE (+1-877-737-3783, 8AM-6PM local time); Parks Canada general information is provided at +1-888-773-8888.

Respect[edit]

Disturbing wildlife is illegal in a national park. Leave rocks, plants, bones and antlers as you found them. A few parks contain archaeological sites or are in ecologically-sensitive locations such as the high Arctic. You may need to pack out any rubbish with you when you leave; if there are no latrines in a sensitive location, excrement should be packed out or buried. Anything left behind in the far north may take a very long time to decay, if it's biodegradable at all.

Some parts of the parks are restricted to protect wildlife; for instance, if a beachfront nesting habitat for endangered birds is not accessible to the public, it is left undisturbed with no roads into the protected segments.

Many parks are in remote or forested locations with essentially no local firefighting capability. A cook stove is preferable to an open camp fire, due to risk of wildfires. Keep any fires small enough to burn to ash before you leave. Never build a fire on moss or Arctic tundra where it can spread underground.

Do not leave markers, messages or other manmade indicators behind; leave the parkland in its natural, untouched state for the next voyager. In some wilderness locations without marked permanent camp sites, leave no trace camping is advised.

A few parks in remote far northern locations like Ellesmere Island or the Torngat Mountains require visitors register on entry and notify the park office on departure. Failure to deregister (or leave a message indicating your party successfully completed its trip) risks the launch of a very expensive and awkward search if authorities mistakenly believe you are still stranded in the park.

Stay safe[edit]

Help is not always close at hand. Parks Canada sites vary from beaten-path (such as the Rideau Canal in Ottawa or the Anne of Green Gables site in Prince Edward Island National Park) to almost next-to-impossible destinations (such as Nunavut and the high Arctic). In some places, a satellite phone may be the only communication in an emergency and GPS the only waypoint or location marker. A national 24-hour emergency dispatcher may be reached in Jasper, Alberta at +1 780-852-3100 (freephone: +1-877-852-3100) if attempts to contact a local park office fail, but it may take days for help to arrive in adverse conditions in a truly remote location accessible only by aircraft.

As adverse weather may delay your departure from a remote location; it's best to carry a few extra days worth of provisions.

If heading far from the beaten path, leave an itinerary with intended route locations, activities and date of expected return, names of all visitors and guides in the group (with emergency contact info for each) and description of major identifiable equipment (like tents or watercraft).

Dangerous animals are a hazard; you are on their turf, so be bear aware. Foodstuffs may need to be packaged in bear-resistant containers. Significant restrictions dictate who may carry firearms in national parks. By necessity, Parks Canada allows specially-licensed guides, natives or researchers to carry firearms for protection from polar bears in nine of the parks: Ivvavik and Vuntut (northern Yukon), Aulavik and Tuktut Nogait (Northwest Territories), Quttinirpaaq (Ellesmere Island, Nunavut), Sirmilik and Auyuittuq (Baffin Island, Nunavut), Torngat Mountains National Park (Labrador) and Wapusk National Park (north of Churchill, Manitoba). The bears are a protected species at risk but, if warning shots, flares, air horns or pepper spray fail to scare bears away from humans, the armed native bear guards are empowered to use lethal force to protect human life.

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