In 2067, Gatineau Park will be of even greater national value as a substantial natural reserve located within minutes of the Capital’s urban core. Situated at the edge of the Canadian Shield, the Park extends into the heart of the Capital between the Ottawa and Gatineau rivers, and links to wilder areas of the boreal forest. Having a wilderness area so close to a major capital city is not only rare but it also stands as an evocative reminder of our nation’s vast tracts of wilderness.
The NCC manages Gatineau Park as a Category II natural heritage area, according to IUCN standards. The primary purpose of the Park will continue to be a natural reserve, with memorable natural features, unique plants and wildlife, and beautiful heritage sites and landscapes. At the same time, the Park will welcome human activities that promote an appreciation of and interaction with the natural environment, provided that the activities have a low impact on ecological resources. The continuing challenge is to manage the impacts of the increasing number of visitors to a growing Capital Region. In 2013, it was the second-most-visited major federal park in Canada. Indeed, rising visitation has led the NCC to develop and implement innovative management techniques to protect the long-term health of the Park’s ecosystems and preserve this national icon. This approach will be enhanced as part of the NCC’s leadership role in regional environmental management.
Key policy directions for the next 50 years
- The NCC will continue to acquire additional lands as they become available for purchase or when the owner wishes to give the lands to the nation. The NCC will prioritize lands that are vulnerable to development, that are of unique ecological character, or that act as linkages in ecological systems.
- With respect to human habitation within the Park’s boundaries, the NCC will work with residents and local authorities to bring such habitation to an ecologically sustainable state.
- The NCC will protect and enhance cultural heritage through preserving key buildings and landscapes.
- The NCC will work with local stakeholders to conserve and, in some cases, restore valued habitats and ecosystems in Gatineau Park. The NCC will work to maintain ecological connectivity, biodiversity and species at risk.
- Ongoing efforts are required to work with Park users to ensure respectful recreation that meets the growing and diversified interests of users, while ensuring conservation, such as the “leave no trace” philosophy. The NCC will work with user groups to forge sustainable relationships between people and nature.
- The NCC will work with municipalities, conservation agencies and other private partners to develop linkages from Gatineau Park to broader ecological networks and to secure ecological corridors.
- The NCC will continue to work with municipalities and other groups to leverage the conservation of natural assets for regional economic benefit, and complement the Park’s offerings with outdoor activities outside the Park. The NCC will encourage municipalities to plan and develop design standards within Gatineau Park, and to create alternative recreational facilities to help reduce the pressure on the Park.