Vol. 147, No. 22 — June 1, 2013

Regulations Amending the National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations

Statutory authority

Canada National Parks Act

Sponsoring agency

Parks Canada Agency

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

Issue

During the management planning process for their respective national parks, the proposed wilderness areas were identified as areas that would benefit from a higher level of protection to ensure a strict prohibition of activities that would impair their wilderness character. As per subsection 14(4) of the Canada National Parks Act (the Act), where a new or amended management plan sets out an area of a national park for declaration as a wilderness area, the Minister shall recommend such declaration to the Governor in Council within one year after the plan or amendment is tabled in Parliament.

Background

The National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations first came into force in 2000 to declare wilderness areas within Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho national parks of Canada. The Regulations Amending the National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations (the Regulations) would be made under section 14 of the Act and would bring the number of declared wilderness areas in national parks and national park reserves of Canada to a total of 12. The Regulations would establish new declared wilderness areas in the following four parks: Riding Mountain National Park of Canada in Manitoba, La Mauricie National Park of Canada in Quebec, Kejimkujik National Park of Canada in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada in Prince Edward Island.

Wilderness area declarations are a legislative tool; they provide Canadians with assurance that facilities and activities that are inconsistent with the wilderness character of a national park or national park reserve of Canada will be prohibited. Where a region of a national park or national park reserve of Canada is declared a wilderness area by regulation, the activities that can take place in the area are restricted to the following: activities related to park administration, public safety, the provision of basic user facilities including trails and rudimentary campsites, the carrying on of traditional renewable resource harvesting activities authorized under the Act, and access by air to remote wilderness areas where there is no other means of access.

The proposed wilderness areas have been chosen for the following reasons: they currently exist in a natural state or are capable of returning to a natural state as a wilderness area, and they are good representations of natural regions where ecosystems can be maintained with minimal interference.

Although these areas are already protected under the Act, they would receive a higher level of protection when they are declared wilderness areas under the Regulations. Once the Regulations come into force, the provisions of the Act prohibiting the authorization of any activity that would likely impair their wilderness character will come into effect for the four newly declared wilderness areas.

Objectives

The Act dedicates national parks to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment and requires that they be maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

The declaration of wilderness areas in national parks of Canada is a tool that enhances the protection and preservation of nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural heritage and supports opportunities to foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment for present and future generations.

Description

The Regulations would increase the number of declared wilderness areas in national parks and national park reserves of Canada to 12. Wilderness areas are identified by reference to administrative map plan numbers in the archives of Natural Resources Canada. These map plans may be consulted at the national office of Parks Canada in Gatineau, Quebec, and at the office of the superintendent of each national park with a declared wilderness area.

The proposed wilderness areas are currently areas that are identified as special preservation or wilderness zones in national park management plans. Under the Parks Canada zoning system, special preservation areas (Zone I) are those that contain or support unique, threatened or endangered natural or cultural features or are among the best examples of the features that represent a natural region. Wilderness areas (Zone II) are extensive areas that are good representations of a natural region where the maintenance of ecosystems with minimal interference is the key consideration.

The Regulations would declare 97% of Riding Mountain National Park of Canada in Manitoba, 73% of La Mauricie National Park of Canada in Quebec, 77.7% of the inland portion and 99.6% of the coastal portion of Kejimkujik National Park of Canada in Nova Scotia, and 10% of Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada in Prince Edward Island as wilderness areas. Land used as right-of-way or for certain facilities and public areas are not included in a declared wilderness area (i.e. access roads, parking surfaces and visitor services buildings).

The Regulations declaring the interior of Riding Mountain National Park of Canada as a wilderness area would provide additional protection to the Southern Boreal Plains and Plateaux Natural Region. This national park features a diversity of landscapes — evergreen and hardwood forests, rolling hills, valleys, lakes and streams — that are home to the highest density of dabbling ducks in North America, in particular the mallard, the northern shoveler and the northern pintail. A highland plateau in the centre of North America, this national park is a crossroads where prairie, boreal and deciduous life zones mingle. The national park is the core protected area of the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve and provides critical habitat for species at risk, such as the Chimney Swift, the Common Nighthawk, the Golden-winged Warbler, the Olive-sided Flycatcher and the Red-headed Woodpecker. The Anishinabe use the word Wagiiwing (Wa-gi-wing), which means “mountain landscape that serves as a sanctuary for many creatures and provides them with everything they need to survive,” to describe the region.

In the case of La Mauricie National Park of Canada, the Regulations would provide a higher degree of protection to the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Precambrian Region. Located on the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, this national park represents a natural region that still shows traces of the Ice Age and forms a transition zone where a number of plant and animal species reach their northern or southern limit. The region features rounded mountains, covered by a mosaic of coniferous and deciduous forests, and a multitude of lakes, streams and rivers. This national park also provides critical habitat for significant species such as the wood turtle, the eastern wolf, the Arctic char population in Français Lake and the butternut tree, which was recently designated an endangered species in Canada.

In Kejimkujik National Park of Canada, the Regulations would provide a higher degree of protection to the Atlantic Coast Plain Natural Region. This national park stands out for its boulder-strewn barrens, Acadian forests, flowing rivers, shallow rock-studded lakes and coastal rocky shorelines with white sand barrier beaches. The lakes and rivers are linked by a network of canoe trails used for thousands of years by the Mi’kmaq. This portion of the national park contains a number of remarkable petroglyph sites depicting elements of Mi’kmaq culture. Kejimkujik is the only national park which has also been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. The inland portion is designated as part of the core of the Southwest Nova Biosphere, the second largest biosphere reserve in Canada, and houses an exceptional concentration of rare species, such as Blanding’s turtle, the Piping plover, the Canada warbler, the Eastern Ribbonsnake and the Water-pennywort.

Finally, the Regulations would declare a portion of Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada as wilderness area and would provide a higher degree of protection to the Maritime Plain Natural Region. This national park is characterized by an undulating landscape of low elevation, underlain by relatively soft sandstone, conglomerate and shale. Sandy beaches, sandspits, barrier islands and shifting sand dunes are common along the coastal margins, along with rare parabolic dunes. River estuaries are often bordered by salt marshes and freshwater and brackish ponds. There are hardwood forests of sugar maple, yellow birch and American beech on rich uplands and slopes, to black spruce bogs on low flats, and white spruce stands in exposed coastal locations. The national park also supports a number of species at risk, including the piping plover and the Gulf of St. Lawrence aster.

“One-for-One” Rule

The “One-for-One” Rule does not apply to these Regulations as there are no businesses operating in the proposed wilderness areas. The declaration of wilderness areas in these four national parks of Canada prevents any development or uses of any type that are inconsistent with the distinct wilderness character of these areas.

Small business lens

The small business lens does not apply to these Regulations as there are no businesses operating in the proposed wilderness areas.

Consultation

Extensive public consultations on the intent to declare wilderness areas in Riding Mountain National Park of Canada in Manitoba, La Mauricie National Park of Canada in Quebec, Kejimkujik National Park of Canada in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada in Prince Edward Island took place during the process for the development and approval of their respective management plans. In all cases, key stakeholders, Aboriginal groups and representatives of communities located in or near the national parks participated in the consultation process.

The creation of wilderness areas in these national parks of Canada received the full support of the public, key stakeholders, Aboriginal groups and neighbouring communities.

Rationale

The Parks Canada Agency National Park System Plan divides Canada into 39 distinct natural regions, based on unique physiographic and vegetative characteristics. The Agency’s goal is to have at least one national park representative of each natural region. The Regulations would help maintain and preserve the natural state of declared wilderness areas in the four natural regions represented by these national parks.

The declaration of wilderness areas would assure the public that facilities and activities that are likely to impair the distinct wilderness character or the ecological integrity of such areas would be prohibited. The declaration of wilderness areas in the four national parks would prevent any development or uses of any type that are inconsistent with the distinct wilderness character of these areas. The declaration of these wilderness areas could also result in increasing protection and conservation of threatened and endangered species of fauna or flora as well as of rare geological or environmental features.

There are no costs to users or to industry. The costs for the Government of Canada to declare these four new wilderness areas in the four national parks are very minimal and amount to less than $50,000 in total. This represents the costs associated with the production of administrative map plans for these four declared wilderness areas, the undertaking of public consultations and the publication in the Canada Gazette. Costs related to compliance and law enforcement are absorbed in the operational budget of each national park.

These four protected areas have been administratively managed as wilderness areas since the tabling in Parliament of the respective national park management plans (Kejimkujik in 2010, Riding Mountain in 2010, La Mauricie in 2010 and Prince Edward Island in 2010). Therefore, there have been no activities or developments within these wilderness areas. Furthermore, there have been no changes to the purpose or type of use of these areas.

Implementation, enforcement and service standards

In addition to compliance monitored through the regular enforcement program, voluntary compliance would be encouraged by informing visitors of any restrictions associated with activities or uses of public lands in declared wilderness areas.

Any activity or use of public lands within a declared wilderness area, with the exception of those authorized by the Minister in accordance with the Act, would be prohibited. Authorized activities or uses within a declared wilderness area would be subject to any conditions deemed necessary by the Minister and must be related to

  • (a) park administration;
  • (b) public safety;
  • (c) the provision of basic user facilities including trails and rudimentary campsites;
  • (d) the carrying on of traditional renewable resource harvesting activities authorized pursuant to the Act or any other Act of Parliament; or
  • (e) access by air to remote wilderness areas where there is no other means of access to those areas.

Any prohibited or unauthorized activity or use of public lands within a declared wilderness area would constitute an offence under the Act and its regulations. In the event of non-compliance with the Act or regulations, a charge could be laid pursuant to subsection 24(2) of the Act for which a fine of up to $25,000 on summary conviction, and up to $100,000 on indictment, could be imposed.

Contact

Julie Lacasse
Senior Advisor
Legislative Affairs
Policy, Cabinet and Legislative Affairs Branch
Strategy and Plans Directorate
Parks Canada Agency
25 Eddy Street, 4th Floor, Room 25-4-Q
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5
Telephone: 819-994-5138
Fax: 819-997-5140
Email: julie.lacasse@pc.gc.ca

PROPOSED REGULATORY TEXT

Notice is given that the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection 14(1) of the Canada National Parks Act (see footnote a), proposes to make the annexed Regulations Amending the National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations.

Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part Ⅰ, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Julie Lacasse, Senior Advisor, Legislative Affairs, Policy, Legislative and Cabinet Affairs, Parks Canada Agency, 25 Eddy Street, 4th Floor (25-4-Q), Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5 (tel.: 819-994-5138; fax: 819-994-5140; email: julie.lacasse@ pc.gc.ca).

Ottawa, May 23, 2013

JURICA ČAPKUN
Assistant Clerk of the Privy Council

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE NATIONAL PARKS OF CANADA WILDERNESS AREA DECLARATION REGULATIONS AMENDMENT

1. The schedule to the National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations (see footnote 1) is amended by adding the following after item 8:

Item

Column 1


National Park of Canada

Column 2

Administrative map plan numbers in the Canada Lands Surveys Records at Ottawa

9.

Riding Mountain National Park of Canada

99477
99478
99479

10.

La Mauricie National Park of Canada

99768

11.

Kejimkujik National Park of Canada

100516
100517

12.

Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada

99412
99413

COMING INTO FORCE

2. These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

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