Parks Beyond Borders: Canada Gets 16th World Heritage Site, Shooters Go Off Half-Cocked In Oz

Evangeline Statue

This statue of Evangeline, the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, stands beside the historic church at the Grand-Pré National Historic Site. The site has just becomne Canada's 16th UNESCO Wold Heritage Site.

Nova Scotia’s Grand Pré National Park Named Canada’s 16th World Heritage Site

According to an article in Canada’s National Post UNESCO yesterday declared Grand Pré National Historic Site to be the country’s 16th world heritage site.

Environment Minister Peter Kent said, “This designation will attract not only Nova Scotians, Acadians and other Canadians, but also international visitors who are looking for unique experiences at iconic places.”

The announcement said Grand Pré was chosen for “‘exceptional’ cultural characteristics that are very important for present and future generations.”

Wikipedia explains the site’s significance saying, “Grand-Pré National Historic Site is a park set aside to commemorate the Grand-Pré area of Nova Scotia as a centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755, and the Deportation of the Acadians (le Grand Dérangement, the great uprooting,) which began in 1755 and continued to 1762. The original village of Grand Pré extended four kilometres along the ridge between present-day Wolfville and Hortonville where the British Fort Vieux Logis was located). Together with the adjacent marshland, this area was designated a Rural Historic District by the Government of Canada in 1995."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Evangeline was published in the United States in 1847 and the story of the Deportation of the Acadians became known in the English-speaking world. Grand-Pré, became popular for American tourists who wanted to visit the birthplace of the poem's heroine, Evangeline.

The National Post article quoted Bernard Valcourt, minister of state, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and la Francophonie. “The recognition of the landscape of Grand Pré … is a significant community achievement and follows many years of hard work,” he said.

The communities of Grand Pré and Hortonville are included as well as the Grand Pré National Historic Site.

Most of Canada’s 16 UNESCO heritage sites are entirely or partly managed by Parks Canada.

National Park Shooters Went Off “Half-Cocked” in Oz

Hunters have apparently gotten access to some national parks in New South Wales’ effort to eradicate non-native species, but the leaders of the ecstatic Shooters and Fishers Party seem to have “jumped the gun” on their victory, according to an article by Ben Cubby in the Milton Ulladulla Times.

The article said, “Shooters and Fishers Minister of Parliament Robert Borsak said hunting would '’eventually'’ be declared in 751 of the 799 national parks in NSW. He later told the Herald he only hoped this would be the case if the existing plan to allow hunting of feral animals in 79 parks is deemed a success. But Mr O'Farrell effectively ruled out Mr Borsak's hope yesterday.”

Premier O’Farrell, no doubt following the uproar caused by his decision to permit hunting said, ''I can't envisage any circumstance in which more parks will be added.''

The article said the “decision to allow shooting in 40 parks was passed in exchange for the support of the Shooters and Fishers in passing government legislation to sell power stations.”

As the controversy continued to generate intense debate the discussion in some quarters shifted to doubts that the plan would actually reduce unwanted pests and pressure on indigenous wildlife.

Nevertheless, “Shooting is hotly opposed by most of the state's environment groups, and the Colong Foundation for Wilderness has said it will use 'all non-violent means' to stop it happening.” Check Traveler’s earlier article for more on this topic.

Head of Czech Republic’s Šumava National Park Departs Suddenly

The director of the biggest of the Czech Republic’s four national parks is leaving his post amid apparent controversy. Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa relieved Jan Strasky, the often lampooned park chief, but took care to say, "A dismissal is applied if someone makes a mistake. We have jointly agreed on the termination of his contract," Chalupa said, but added that Strasky's work as NPS director was successful.

The Šumava mountain range and national park are covered by the most extensive forest in Central Europe as it straddles along the southwestern border with Germany and Austria. The 71-year old superintendent had been criticized by environmentalists for tackling an infestation of bark-beetle outbreak by deciding to cut down a stringently protected part of the forest. The cuts took a more enviro turn last week but are still being decried by the European Commission.

An article in the Prague Monitor recounted Strasky’s transgressions. “This April, the Children of the Earth group presented him with the Oil Guzzler mock-prize for what they called his discrediting the NPS in people's eyes. He also received the Green Pearl mock-prize for the most outrageous environmental-unfriendly statement for his words: ‘The law is being observed by being permanently violated, but its violations will be authorised by the exceptions it makes possible.’"

The news source said “Strasky headed the NPS since February 2012. When appointing him, Chalupa said Strasky would do the job for 12 to 18 months.”

Strasky’s likely successor will be Jiri Manek, 40. He became deputy director “shortly after Strasky's appointment as director early last year,” the article said. “However, Manek worked for the NPS for ten years in the past. In the meantime he ran a biochemical laboratory focusing on researching the gene pool of forest trees. Manek said he would like to widen the no-cutting zone in the park."

Public Comment Period Begins For Toronto's Rouge National Urban Park

With the comment, “This will be a People’s Park after all and we want the people to help shape it,” Canada’s Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent opened a period of public input with an appearance last week at West Rouge Community Centre. He took that opportunity to introduce Pam Veinotte, appointed first superintendent of Rouge National Urban Park, a major new urban national park for Canada and the world.

An article in Inside Toronto said $143 million in funding has been announced for Rouge Park and the “rain of federal money started falling Friday.”

The article said, “Now people living near the celebrated green space, which is about to draw more visitors and see no less than four different ‘discovery hubs’ built, can tell Parks Canada what they think of its 'People’s Park' concept. They have three months to make their opinions known, either by filling in a survey online or attending one of three meetings where their questions can be answered in public.”

Veinotte, superintendent of Banff National Park, becomes superintendent of the new Rouge Park on July 16.