Sunday, June 12, 2011

Places of Sublime Beauty

An excellent article celebrates the 100th anniversary of Canada's National Parks. Today there are 42 national parks, and 167 historic sites.

The mandate is unchanged:

"Dedicated to the people of Canada, for their benefit, education and leave unimpaired for future generations."

The CEO of Parks Canada said, "Our objective is to connect people to these great places so they can be proud of the exceptional system of stories and geography that we have in Canada. The key to their long term future is an engaged citizenry."

A focus on Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories caught my particular interest with committed citizens lobbying hard over the years for its preservation and expansion.

"The South Nahanni River, running through the heart of this wilderness, stands among the world's greatest natural wonders as it plunges over Virginia Falls, a waterfall twice as high as Niagara, and carves a passage through the earth almost as deep as the Grand Canyon.

In the late 1960s, hydroelectric development was proposed for Virginia Falls on the South Nahanni River. Wilderness lovers, led by CPAWS (then known as the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada), cried foul and mounted a campaign to protect the Nahanni as a free-flowing wild northern river. Prime Minister Trudeau's 1970 visit to the river cemented the deal to create Nahanni National Park Reserve. In 1972, land was set aside for a national park, and in 1976, a 4766 sq km corridor along the South Nahanni and Flat Rivers were legally protected as a national park reserve. In 2009, Nahanni National Park Reserve was expanded to permanently protect 30,000 km2 of Boreal wilderness - an area the size of Vancouver Island.

In 1978, Nahanni National Park Reserve became the first site in the world to be officially granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), highlighting the global significance of the Nahanni's natural values."

How many short sighted economic and political decisions have been made around the world which resulted in the decimation of nature's sublime beauty?