Straight talk on Na­tional Parks Act

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

We are writ­ing an open let­ter to En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Leona Aglukkag to ex­press our sup­port for the pro­posed build­ing of the Never For­got­ten Na­tional Me­mo­rial (NFNM) at Green Cove in the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park.

As you know, ac­cord­ing the Na­tional Parks Act, Ar­ti­cle 4, ‘the Na­tional Parks of Canada are hereby ded­i­cated to the peo­ple of Canada for their ben­e­fit, ed­u­ca­tion and en­joy­ment sub­ject to this Act and the reg­u­la­tions, and the parks shall be main­tained and made use of so as to leave them unim­paired for the en­joy­ment of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.’

Fur­ther, the Parks Canada Char­ter has as its man­date: ‘On be­half of the peo­ple of Canada, we pro­tect and present na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant ex­am­ples of Canada’s nat­u­ral and cul­tural her­itage, and foster public un­der­stand­ing, ap­pre­ci­a­tion and en­joy­ment in ways that en­sure the eco­log­i­cal and com­mem­o­ra­tive in­tegrity of these places for present and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.’

In an open let­ter ad­dressed to you by for­mer se­nior Parks Canada man­agers dated June 4, 2015, they in­sisted that the po­si­tion­ing of the Never For­got­ten Na­tional Me­mo­rial at Green Cove ‘was in vi­o­la­tion of the site’s wilder­ness zone des­ig­na­tion as de­tailed in the man­age­ment plan for the park.’ This is a com­plete false­hood! The sign­ers ap­par­ently did not do their home­work or de­lib­er­ately mis­led you. The map on page 37 of the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park man­age­ment plan clearly shows that Green Cove is well out­side the des­ig­nated wilder­ness zone and is char­ac­ter­ized as a Zone 4 site. This was con­firmed by Derek Quann, act­ing su­per­in­ten­dent at the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park of­fice, on June 22.

Zone 4 des­ig­na­tion is given to small ar­eas that are ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing a broad range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for ed­u­ca­tion and out­door recre­ation, in­clud­ing the ma­jor fa­cil­i­ties and in­fra­struc­ture re­quired for visi­tor ex­pe­ri­ence. Di­rect ac­cess by mo­tor­ized ve­hi­cles is per­mit­ted here but not in wilder­ness zones. Presently, the park has lit­tle in the way of cul­tural ex­po­si­tion. In the Plan, Ar­ti­cle 3.2.5: ‘Parks Canada must en­sure that cul­tural re­sources and cul­tural land­scapes are rec­og­nized, pro­tected and pre­sented so that the public can learn about and ap­pre­ci­ate the Park’s cul­tural her­itage.’

Fur­ther, Ar­ti­cle 5.1.2 of the plan states that Parks Canada, ‘work­ing with part­ners, ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of of­fer­ing nat­u­ral/cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences where visi­tors not only en­joy nat­u­ral sur­round­ing but also im­merse them­selves in the deep cul­tural roots within the com­mu­ni­ties.’

In Ar­ti­cle 5.2, ‘in col­lab­o­ra­tion with com­mu­ni­ties and stake­hold­ers, the park will ex­plore the hu­man history of the High­lands. By link­ing the past and the present our cul­tural her­itage helps us ap­pre­ci­ate the hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence and bet­ter un­der­stand who we are as Cana­di­ans.’

Fur­ther, the park will ‘de­velop in­ter­pre­tive prod­ucts in In­go­nish that com­ple­ment nat­u­ral and cul­tural fea­tures to con­vey a sense of place.’

Ar­ti­cle 6 states: ‘Parks Canada will pro­vide in­creased op­por­tu­ni­ties for Cana­di­ans to be in­volved with Parks Canada places in ac­tiv­i­ties they con­sider mean­ing­ful and rel­e­vant.’

The lit­tle vil­lage of Green Cove may be con­sid­ered rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the many sim­i­lar com­mu­ni­ties in Canada where de­ter­mined set­tlers eked out a liv­ing from na­ture’s re­sources. All of these com­mu­ni­ties were not too small to send their sons and daugh­ters to par­tic­i­pate in the cause for free­dom through­out the world – some never re­turned home.

What bet­ter site could we have to help Mother Canada welcome those fallen Cana­di­ans. In her plain gar­ment, de­void of any mil­i­tary para­pher­na­lia, an every­woman – arms out­stretched – would stand ready to em­brace her chil­dren once again.

In con­clu­sion we heartily and re­spec­tively sup­port the com­mem­o­ra­tive Never For­got­ten Na­tional Me­mo­rial at Green Cove in the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park. Ray and Au­drey Sta­ple­ton In­go­nish

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