Parks Canada

Parks Canada

September 08, 2011 11:19 ET

Parks Canada Recognizes 100 Volunteers to Mark 100 Years of Parks Canada

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2011) - Parks Canada has recognized the special contributions of 100 volunteers who have made significant contributions to the Parks Canada sites where they volunteer to mark the occasion of its centennial.

Volunteers have been contributing to the protection and presentation of Canada's natural and cultural resources since the creation of the first national park, Banff, in 1885. Parks Canada's national volunteer program began in 1979, formally recognizing a few hundred people in the early years and rising steadily to over 6,000 volunteers last year. Volunteers help Parks Canada's staff to organize special events, protect, maintain, and present on-site resources and greet and guide visitors.

The majority of Parks Canada volunteers come from local communities surrounding the various sites, but many others come from elsewhere in the country and around the world. Whether contributing a few hours a week or a few weeks over the span of decades, volunteers get the opportunity to develop a deeper connection to the places managed by Parks Canada and make a lasting impact on their management and presentation.

For some of Park's Canada's volunteers, the program is a lifelong commitment. Chris Wilke volunteered at Elk Island National Park in Alberta for almost 25 years. He became an ambassador for the park and its wildlife conservation programs, especially those aimed at the parks' many bison and elk. Chris passed away suddenly in 2010. In recognition, a memorial bench and a plaque at the visitor information centre will be dedicated to his memory.

Some volunteers, like Norm and Sue Green at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, have logged tens of thousands of hours working on improvement projects. Others have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of First Nations people on the land, like Edna Helm, a trapper at the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site in the Yukon. Josh Nelles was only 9 years old when he first volunteered with HMCS Haida in Ontario and has worked countless hours since then during the summer and on weekends. And Lorne Fuller, a retiree at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site in Alberta, uses the skills that he learned in his long career as a farmer to teach local children how to make rope and to help restore the ranch's vintage farm equipment to working condition.

To become a Parks Canada volunteer, contact the Parks Canada site nearest you or visit us online at under Volunteering. For additional information, please see the accompanying backgrounder at under Media Room.

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  • Media Relations
    Parks Canada