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Parks Canada Connects Urbanites to Nature

June 20, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

To celebrate Parks Canada’s centennial, in collaboration with Mountain Equipment Co-op, urban and new Canadians from the Atlantic provinces were invited to a learn to camp event at Fort Beauséjour National Historic Site, in New Brunswick this past weekend, according to a news release.

CBC News Canada reported that 115 immigrants new to Canada took part in their first Canadian camping experience over the weekend.  Geraldine Arsenault from Parks Canada said there were be campers from 17 different countries, now living in Halifax, Charlottetown and Moncton.

“We know that many Canadians, especially urban and new Canadians, would like to experience national parks through camping but feel they lack the necessary skills, equipment and knowledge,” said Minister Peter Kent, Canada’s environment minister responsible for Parks Canada. “The Learn to Camp initiative will help bridge this gap so that more Canadians can experience and enjoy the wonders of our treasured natural places.”

“Fewer Canadians are enjoying overnight experiences in national parks. Camping participation has been declining over the last 10 years,” added Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen. “This original initiative by Parks Canada will allow more Canadians to discover and appreciate Canada’s natural and cultural heritage treasures, and will inspire them to get engaged in their protection for the benefit of future generations.”

“Mountain Equipment Co-op has supported Canadians’ pursuit of outdoor recreation since 1971, and welcomes newcomers to join our tent,” said CEO David Labistour. “MEC is proud to bring our people’s knowledge of gear, real-world experience and passion for the outdoors to the Learn to Camp initiative.”

Parks Canada has worked with various immigration and urban outreach associations across the country to invite new Canadians and young families in urban centres to participate in this special activity. Similar Learn to Camp events are taking place this past weekend (June 18-19) in or near Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Québec City, and Montréal. Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op have teamed up to host approximately 100 participants per location. The events include workshops and overnight camping at a national park or national historic site, where participants take part in a variety of activities, including regular on-site programs, interpretive activities and camping workshops focused on planning and enjoying safe and memorable camping experiences.

For additional information, see the accompanying backgrounder at www.parkscanada.gc.ca under Media Room.

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