What are the National Parks?
Canada’s national parks are a “country-wide system of representative natural areas of Canadian significance. By law, they are protected for public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment, while being maintained in an unimpaired state for future generations. National Parks have existed in Canada for well over a century.” – Parks Canada. The national park system has been established first for the protection and preservation of the wild lands and the wildlife that live within it; secondarily, for the education and enjoyment of the public.
Most Popular National Parks
In all, as of 2014, there are currently 39 natural regions. These parks are located in every province and territory; varying over mountain ranges, plains, forests, tundra, glaciers/lakes, and many more landscapes. Below are just a few of the most popular national parks in Canada:
Banff National Park
In 1885, Banff was the very first national park established in Canada; becoming the world’s third protected park. The park, located in Alberta, boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in Canada; valleys, rocky mountains, glaciers, forests, glacial lakes and rivers, and meadows all work together to create a natural masterpiece. Activities seem endless and just a sample of what visitors can do are: fishing, backpacking, hiking, canoeing, driving, camping, scuba diving, skating, mountain climbing, and not to forget the famous hot springs. See the Banff National Park website for more activities and more information.
Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada
Located in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Highlands National Park was the first national park designated in Atlantic Canada. Home of the world famous Cabot Trail, this park is a feast for activities such as hiking, camping, sightseeing, geocaching, golfing, beaches, and more! Oceanic views leave visitors spellbound with its natural beauty. For more information visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada.
Jasper National Park
Famed for its breathtaking mountain scenery, Jasper National Park is one of Canada’s oldest and largest national parks. Established in 1907, this treasure holds a plethora of wildlife and activities; whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation. Activities include: camping, biking, hiking, as well as their interpretation and Red Chair programs. On March 26, 2011, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated Jasper a Dark Sky Preserve. See the Jasper National Park website for more information.
Thousand Islands National Park of Canada
Located in eastern Canada, the Thousand Islands National Park is only a few hours from the major cities of Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. The park boasts a stunning combination of nature and culture that intermingles to create a truly unique experience. Relax in the great outdoors or participate in the many activities the park has to offer such as: camping, geocaching, hiking, biking, bird watching, kitesurfing, scuba diving, boating and many more! For more information on this park, see the Thousand Islands National Park of Canada website.
Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada
Established in 1984, the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada is a sight to be seen. A scattering of about thirty limestone islands, as well as over 1000 granitic islets and reefs rest along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The scenic oddity is a reminder of the past, present and even a glimpse into the future of how the natural wonder of the sea and land interact over the centuries. Wildlife and lands are thriving in this surreal and unique park, with dolphins, whales, seals, and sea birds amidst a gathering of multi-coloured plant life. Camping, hiking, and other adventure activities are available for your pleasurable escape to this protected and unique park. See the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve website for more details.
Parks Canada: http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/index
Image (Blue Lake) by pepijn klerkx (Arnhem, GLD, Netherlands)