WASHINGTON (July 5, 2011)—To mark the 100th anniversary this year of Parks Canada — the world’s oldest national parks service — National Geographic has published the first ever official guidebook that showcases all 42 of the country’s national parks plus the four national marine conservation areas.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GUIDE TO THE NATIONAL PARKS OF CANADA (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-0805-8; on-sale date July 5, 2011; $26 in the U.S.; $27 in Canada; paperback) is a handy and practical resource for visitors to Canada’s natural treasures. From the pristine shoreline of British Columbia’s Pacific Rim to Newfoundland’s Gros Morne and from the arctic landscape of Aulavik to the prairies of Grasslands, this extensively illustrated volume from one of world’s leading publishers of travel guides offers comprehensive, up-to-date information on Canada’s vast network of protected wilderness areas.
Written by Canadian authors who are experts on the country’s national parks, the book contains an overview of each park, including a portrait of its natural wonders, ecological setting, history, and, sometimes, its struggles on behalf of endangered species and its means of protecting its fragile environment from human intrusion. The travel writers offer firsthand guidance on getting there, when to go, how to visit, facilities, suggestions on where to stay and what to do, and detailed descriptions of the main attractions. Activities within each park and excursions to some nearby national historic sites are featured, as well as itineraries and site-by-site tours geared to the time one has available. Also included are entrance fee information, contact details, pet policies, special advisories and information on selected activities such as birding, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing.
Historians, scientists and authors have penned a number of essays on such topics as preserving the parks’ starry skies, painting in the parks, festivals in the parks, the Blackfoot people, wildlife migration and sea ice travel.
A list of Canada’s national historic sites, including their location and a brief description, is provided at the back of the book.
Enhancing the text are 250 full-color photographs and 42 easy-to-use maps specially created by National Geographic cartographers, which show the parks, their points of interest, trails, visitors centers, ranger stations, cabins, picnic areas, campgrounds and other features.
In his introductory essay to the book, “Canada’s Gift to the Earth,” Alan Latourelle, chief executive officer of Parks Canada, writes, “The goal of Canada’s national parks system is to protect and present outstanding examples of each of Canada’s 39 natural regions. With 28 natural regions so far represented by national parks, and a total national park area greater than all of Germany, Canadians proudly offer travellers one of the world’s greatest opportunities to connect to the grandeur and the intimacy of nature and to experience unforgettable moments of personal discovery.”
Canada was the first country in the world to establish a dedicated national parks service, and over the past 100 years it has protected a network of wilderness areas of global significance. The parks were established not only for people to enjoy but also for the preservation of whole ecosystems. Nine of the parks — including Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, Wood Buffalo National Park and Miguasha National Park — have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites for their outstanding natural or cultural values; and eight parks form the core protected area of Canada’s 15 International Biosphere Reserves.