As part of Manitoba’s Tomorrow Now Green Plan, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship conducted a consultation on priorities for Manitoba’s parks. Green Action Centre has expressed support for the plan’s central purpose: “to protect nature and connect people to nature.” We believe parks can play an important role in making Manitoba one of the most sustainable places in North America.
How we use parks and how we access them can affect how they promote sustainability. We argue that private cottage ownership in public parks should be minimized. Private cottages have large ecological footprints within parks and reduce the availability of parks’ unique natural characteristics for public use. We recommend alternatives including creating cottage lots on crown land outside parks and making more cabin space available for short term use.
A second area that can be improved is how we access parks. Too often parks are only accessible by private automobiles. Public transportation options for provincial parks could make parks more available for low-income Manitobans and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Better public transportation to Birds Hill starting in 2015 is a good start, but more needs to be done for parks across Manitoba.
Read our full submission to the Manitoba parks strategy consultations.