It's been a modest celebration so far, but an important one - and this weekend, the public has the chance to take part. Since January, Parks Canada has been quietly celebrating their centennial. This Saturday, Parks Day is being marked across the country with free entry into Parks Canada sites and special celebrations in select spots. Here in B.C., where we are lucky enough to have multiple national parks and heritage sites under the Parks Canada banner, celebration events are being held in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
Parks Canada's mandate - in part - is to protect nationally significant examples of Canada's natural heritage.
In other words, they do their best to protect all those wonderful places that make Canada what it is: wild, beautiful, majestic and full of a unique history unlike any other in the world.
Coincidentally, B.C. Parks marked its 100th birthday earlier this year in March, with the centennial anniversary of the creation of the first provincial park. Both organizations no doubt face challenges unprecedented in their 100-year histories, with pressures as varied as battling to save at-risk species and dealing with climate change, to facing tighter governmental budgets and encroaching development.
As a country, we must do what we can to ensure that our natural spaces and historic sites are preserved so that, many generations from now, future British Columbians, Canadians and visitors from around the world will still be able to enjoy these places, and so that the flora and fauna that call them home will continue to thrive and be protected.
So get out camping, go for a hike, take a road trip to an old fort or settlement site. The same applies for local parks and public places: discover what's on offer right here at home. The more valuable and cherished these places are to each of us, the more people there will be to stand up to protect them when needed.