Parks Canada

Parks Canada

June 18, 2011 06:00 ET

Parks Canada and MEC Team up to Help Connect Urbanites to Nature and History

MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC--(Marketwire - June 18, 2011) - To celebrate Parks Canada's centennial, in collaboration with Mountain Equipment Co-op, urban and new Canadians from Montréal were invited to a learn to camp event at Lachine Canal National Historic Site.

"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 and 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. 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 week-end 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.

Established in 1911 as the Dominion Parks Branch, Parks Canada was the world's first national service dedicated to the protection of national parks and historic sites and ever since has been a world leader in protecting and presenting treasured natural and historic places.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada's historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

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

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