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Management in Ontario Provincial Parks

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Paul F.J. Eagles
added 2 research items
The management of existing provincial parks in Ontario, and the creation of new ones, is legislatively governed by the Provincial Parks Act. This evaluation of park legislation assesses its capability of managing complex ecological realities, fostering adequate planning, ensuring proper implementation, and generating public involvement. The increasing size of the parks system and the biological diversity of Ontario represent the ideas of change and complexity in resource and environmental management. This paper suggests that the Provincial Parks Act must be reformed to address these changes and complexities. The mandate and legislative framework of the parks system must be redesigned to promote a proactive approach in conserving the biodiversity of Ontario. Reform is needed in the planning of parks and their management. Public participation and accountability must also be assured. Similar reform in the management of protected areas has occurred at the level of the federal parks system. This paper discusses important proposals for legislative change to Ontario=s Provincial Parks Act, specifically:(i) the recognition of biodiversity conservation as a primary goal; (ii) the need for management plans for each park; and (iii) the requirement for an open consultative planning process.
All park planning and management decisions in parks are ultimately based on values. These values and meanings are translated into various forms and functions within parks. Dearden and Rollins (20095. Dearden , P. and Rollins , R. 2009. “Parks and protected areas in Canada”. In Parks and protected areas in Canada: Planning and management, 3rd, Edited by: Dearden , P. and Rollins , R. 3–23. Don Mills, ON: Oxford. View all references) stated that in Canada there has been a changing emphasis in park roles, and therefore changes in the underlying values and meanings over time, largely from an overt emphasis on recreation to an increased emphasis on ecological protection. This article traces the changes in values underlying the planning and management activities in Pinery Provincial Park in Ontario from 1957 to 2009. After the park establishment in 1957, increases in use reached a high of 1.2 million visitors in 1970. The recognition of problems associated with this very high use, by sectors of civil society and within the Parks Branch, led to a major evaluation of park management. New staff members were hired and a new approach to park planning and management was implemented. In 1971 a park Master Plan was approved for Pinery Provincial Park, the first of its type in Canadian park history. This plan used the concept of carrying capacity, with recreational and ecological components, as the underlying theoretical construct. This was the first time this theory had been used in park planning in Canada, and possibly anywhere. The plan and its implementation revealed that value changes, a domain change, can cause domain changes, leading into a new management regime. Résumé Les valeurs sociales guident tous les aspects de la gestion d'aires protégées. La signification de ces valeurs est traduite en différentes fonctions au sein des parcs. Dearden et Rollins (20095. Dearden , P. and Rollins , R. 2009. “Parks and protected areas in Canada”. In Parks and protected areas in Canada: Planning and management, 3rd, Edited by: Dearden , P. and Rollins , R. 3–23. Don Mills, ON: Oxford. View all references) on déclaré qu'il ya eu un changement de philosophie envers les rôles des parcs canadiens, le loisir et la protection écologique. Ce document retrace l'évolution des valeurs sous-jacentes de la gestion du parc provincial Pinery en Ontario de 1957 à 2009. Après la création du parc en 1957, la consommation du loisir a atteint une somme de 1,2 million visiteurs en 1970. La reconnaissance des problèmes associés à cette utilisation très élevée, par les secteurs de la société civile et au sein de la direction des parcs, a conduit à une importante évaluation de cette gestion. De nouveaux employés ont été embauchés et une nouvelle approche de gestion a été mise en œuvre. En 1971, un plan directeur a été approuvé pour le parc Pinery, ce plan fut le premier de son genre dans l'histoire des parcs canadiens. Ce plan est basé sur le concept de capacité de charge et est composé d'aspects récréatifs et écologiques. Ce fut la première fois que ce concept et cette approche furent utilisés dans la gestion des aires protégées au Canada et peut-être ailleurs. Le plan et sa mise en œuvre démontrent que les changements de valeur et changement de régime peuvent provoquer des transformations importantes dans ce domaine, donnant naissance à un nouveau régime de gestion.