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  • Writer's pictureThe Low Down

A well-protected park

The Editor,

Gatineau Park is undisputedly one of Canada’s most prized natural sites. The National Capital Commission takes its responsibility for the park’s stewardship very seriously.

Gatineau Park is North America’s most heavily visited park (on a per capita basis), which also boasts some of the most diverse ecosystems in Canada — with 118 rare or endangered species, 50 lakes and numerous wetlands. The NCC works to balance conservation and recreation and ensure that Gatineau Park contributes to a picturesque and natural National Capital Region. We are attentive to the public’s input, concerns and expectations about the park, and enjoy working collaboratively with various stakeholders to ensure that future generations can continue to benefit from its natural beauty.

The NCC has been the steward of Gatineau Park for almost 60 years, during which time the park’s land mass has increased and the number of private properties inside has steadily diminished. Despite growing recreational use, we count many ecological successes and continue to work to achieve our conservation goals.

For example, past efforts have resulted in the return of peregrine falcons to the Eardley Escarpment, the richest and most fragile ecosystem in the park. While we are happy about this success, we know that the work is not done. In implementing the upcoming and renewed master plan for Gatineau Park, we will direct recreational users strategically so as to increase habitat quality and better protect species at risk. We will also begin work in earnest to secure the conservation of ecological corridors to promote the free movement of various species from the park to other natural areas.

Renewing our legal framework is also a way the NCC plans on ensuring the long-term protection of the park. We would benefit from additional and modernized legal tools and will work with our federal partners to assess these possibilities. While the boundaries of the Park were created inside and around well-established settlements and communities, including private properties, our main goal in amending the legal framework is to reinforce the park’s protected status and its boundaries.

In the next decade, as outlined in our master plan, the NCC will put all its effort into the conservation and stewardship of Gatineau Park. We agree that this Capital treasure requires great care in its management and encourage you to help us conserve the park, as well as continue to enjoy all that it has to offer. We will reach our goals through collective and shared responsibility with the community.

Christie Spence, director, Quebec Urban Lands and Gatineau Park, Capital Stewardship at the NCC.

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