Free Admission to National Parks for Children and New Citizens on the Horizon
March 18, 2016
Parks Canada recently released its 2016-2017 report on Plans and Priorities, which outlined the challenges currently facing our National Parks and the department’s strategy to address these obstacles. The report warns Parks Canada is facing growing difficulty in remaining relevant to Canadians due to a changing demography. It plans to improve camping, accommodations, trails and amenities to meet the changing expectations of visitors.
Last July, while in government, our Conservative Party announced more than $210 million in infrastructure and conservation investments for Jasper National Park. This funding included extensive work on Highway 16, the Icefields Parkway, and the Valley of Five Lakes trail. Additionally, the investment included revitalizing Jasper’s campgrounds and heritage buildings, and contributed to the Species at Risk recovery program.
In Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Catherine McKenna, he requested she make admission for all visitors to National Parks free in 2017, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Also a part of the Minister’s priorities, beginning in 2018 admission for children under 18 is to be free, and any adult who has become a Canadian citizen in the previous 12 months will receive one year’s free admission.
Tourism is an important part of Yellowhead’s economy. As the overall attendance to National Parks continues to rise, I welcome the continued investment to ensure all Canadians can enjoy our beautiful backyard.