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SOURCE Parks Canada
TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada's parks ministers have committed to work together to creatively and collaboratively inspire Canadians to experience nature through parks in ways that support their health and well-being.
The action was prompted by the first-ever comprehensive evidence-based report in Canada that chronicles the many proven benefits of spending time in nature.
Developed by the Canadian Parks Council, Connecting Canadians with Nature: An investment in the well-being of our Citizens pulls together an increasing body of research that demonstrates the immense benefits of connecting with the natural world. The benefits are broken down into six key areas:
In a joint statement released at the Meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for Parks, with the exception of Quebec*, held in Toronto, Canada's park leaders committed to innovate, diversify and adapt the country's park offerings to meet the changing needs of families, and to work with various sectors of Canadian society - municipalities, school teachers, health practitioners, business leaders, community builders, tourism operators - to support experiences in nature that enhance Canadians' collective health, prosperity, growth and productivity.
During the meeting, the ministers further agreed to collaborate in developing a passport to parks, to build on existing digital tools that make it easier for Canadians to visit their parks and share best practices to expand programs such as learn-to-camp activities in more jurisdictions.
"Canada is fortunate to have a rich array of parks that are recognized
for supporting our overall well-being, and for providing direct
benefits to communities through job creation, recreation and tourism
opportunities. Our Government is committed to working with our partners
to find ways to encourage and support Canadian families to connect with
nature from coast to coast to coast."
Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"Our parks are an incredible resource that holds the potential to
benefit Canadians physically, mentally, socially and economically. To
fully realize that potential, it's essential we work together to
inspire more Canadians to get outside, explore our parks and connect
with the wonders of our natural world."
Dr. Richard Starke, Alberta's Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation
"I'm pleased that Ontario was able to host this conference highlighting
the beauty and importance of Canada's parks. Ontario continues to
connect Canadians with nature through programs such as Learn to Camp and through the Ontario Children's Outdoor Charter, the first charter of its kind in Canada to help children discover the
wonders of nature. We look forward to working with our partners to
enhance opportunities for the public to enjoy Ontario's provincial
David Orazietti, Ontario's Minister of Natural Resource
"Canada's extraordinary system of parks, the oldest in the world, offers
some of the best places to experience all of nature's powerful
benefits, but we cannot work alone. The Canadian Parks Council is
ready to join forces with others, to create new opportunities that will
help maximize the many benefits of personally experiencing nature."
Dawn Carr, Executive Director, Canadian Parks Council
*The Quebec Government does not subscribe to the "Connecting Canadians with Nature" initiative. One of the initiative's main objectives, which consists of improving public health and wellness through outdoor recreation activities and thereby supporting decreased health costs, falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of Quebec, particularly in regards to health promotion. However, Quebec will participate in the exchange of information regarding, among others, best practices in park management and promotion.
About the Canadian Parks Council
Since 1962, federal provincial and territorial governments have collaborated through the Canadian Parks Council (CPC) to promote excellence in parks and protected areas management, to advance park and protected area values and interests, and to encourage cooperation and mutual support among member agencies.
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