Parks free for 2017

Na­tional Park ad­mis­sion poli­cies for 2017 are con­firmed

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - THE GUARDIAN narm­strong@the­guardian.pe.ca

Parks Canada is get­ting Is­lan­ders think­ing about sum­mer by of­fi­cially con­firm­ing a set of Na­tional Park ad­mis­sion poli­cies de­vel­oped by Prime Min­ster Justin Trudeau.

“All Parks Canada Dis­cov­ery Passes pur­chased in 2016 will be valid for 24 months from the date of pur­chase,” said Bar­bara MacDon­ald, ex­ter­nal re­la­tions man­ager for Parks Canada on P.E.I.

Also new this year is early book­ing for camp­sites at Cavendish and Stan­hope camp grounds in­side the Na­tional Park.

Reser­va­tions will now be taken start­ing Jan. 26 be­gin­ning at 8 a.m.

This is in con­trast with past years when reser­va­tions would only be taken start­ing in April.

The an­nounce­ment about Dis­cov­ery passes, a Canadaw­ide pro­gram, also ap­plies to the more spe­cific P.E.I. Na­tional Park sea­sonal pass, says Parks Canada.

MacDon­ald’s an­nounce­ment is iden­ti­cal to a na­tional press re­lease from Parks Canada is­sued from Ottawa re­cently on the same topic.

It brings into ef­fect one para­graph from the man­date let­ter Trudeau gave to MP Cather­ine McKenna when she was ap­pointed min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change, which is re­spon­si­ble for Parks Canada.

“Make ad­mis­sion for all vis­i­tors to Na­tional Parks free in 2017, the 150th an­niver­sary of Con­fed­er­a­tion,” said Trudeau to McKenna.

There is no men­tion in his let­ter about how to make up for lost rev­enue.

Parks Canada’s web­site in­cludes some fi­nan­cial data show­ing that it pre­dicts en­trance fees will bring in $61 mil­lion across Canada this fi­nan­cial year end­ing in March, about eight per cent of to­tal fore­cast ex­penses.

MacDon­ald told The Guardian that Parks Canada is work­ing on other parts of Trudeau’s man­date, like hav­ing chil­dren un­der 18 al­ways get into all Na­tional Parks for free, which should come into ef­fect by 2018.

Trudeau also men­tioned new cit­i­zens get­ting en­cour­age­ment to at­tend Na­tional Parks, and MacDon­ald says Parks Canada is ready.

“A gift to each Cana­dian ci­ti­zen dur­ing their first year of cit­i­zen­ship, the Cul­tural Ac­cess Pass, pro­vides com­pli­men­tary ad­mis­sion to more than 1,200 of Canada’s cul­tural trea­sures from coast to coast,” she said.

The cul­tural pass is a pro­gram pro­vided through the In­sti­tute for Cana­dian Cit­i­zen­ship, a na­tional, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps new cit­i­zens in­te­grate into Cana­dian life.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Joe MacDon­ald chain­saws through some downed trees. Parks Canada crews are un­der­tak­ing work in Prince Ed­ward Is­land Na­tional Park along the Bub­bling Springs and Farm­lands trails to im­prove pub­lic safety and to re­store the na­tive Aca­dian For­est. Crews are cut­ting stand­ing dead trees, limb­ing downed trees and tak­ing mea­sures to en­cour­age the growth of ex­ist­ing yel­low birch, white birch, po­plar and red maple trees.

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