Park management planning process

Waterton Lakes National Park

On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.

Canada National Parks Act

Parks Canada is reviewing the management plan for Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier, and Waterton Lakes national parks. These seven parks share many of the same challenges, opportunities, visitors and stakeholders. This fact sheet describes the plan review process, key principles and opportunities for Indigenous and public involvement.

What is a park management plan?

A management plan is a public document, prepared in consultation with Indigenous peoples and Canadians. It sets out a long-term vision for a national park, as well as strategic direction to guide decision making about the park for a five- to ten-year period.

The management plan is the main public accountability document for a national park. It is the road map that guides Parks Canada’s work to protect natural and cultural resources while facilitating visitor experiences and learning opportunities. It also helps Parks Canada make sound decisions about where to invest financial and human resources.

Plan review process

Text description

Management planning cycle

  • Management plan review
    1. State of the Park Assessment
    2. Scoping exercise Indigenous and public engagement
    3. Management plan preperation Indigenous and public engagement
    4. Mangement plan approval
  • Management plan implementation
    • Monitoring and evaluation occur throughout the cycle
    • Annual implementation updates
  • Management planning and implementation is a continuous cycle of engagement, decision making, evaluating and reporting.
  • State of the park assessments are prepared two years before a new plan is due to set the stage for the management plan review.
  • Parks Canada sets the scope of the plan review based on the state of the park assessment, an evaluation of the current management plan, public and Indigenous feedback, the Agency’s corporate priorities, and other factors.
  • Parks Canada will provide opportunities for Indigenous and public involvement at both the management plan scoping phase and as the draft plan is developed.
  • The final plans are approved by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and tabled in Parliament.
  • Each park reports annually on progress in implementing its management plan through public meetings or written reports.

Indigenous involvement

As a member of the federal Crown, Parks Canada has a special relationship with Indigenous peoples. The management plan review is an opportunity to strengthen collaboration with Indigenous communities and organizations. We will offer opportunities for Indigenous communities and organizations to engage directly with us during the management plan review.

Public involvement

Parks Canada welcomes the participation of Canadians in the management plan review. Public involvement ensures that park management plans reflect the perspectives of Canadians. Each park will offer a variety of ways to get involved - from workshops or public meetings to online forums.

Guiding principles

1. Moving forward, not starting anew
While the new plans will build on existing policy and plan direction, they will be rewritten and updated to better address emerging issues, new knowledge and engagement process results. The new plans will provide more clarity, respond to government priorities and Parks Canada Agency strategic direction and reaffirm ecological and commemorative integrity as the first priorities.
2. A platform for relationship building
Parks Canada will use the management planning process to continue its work with the public, partners and Indigenous groups to help advance shared goals for conservation and enjoyment of the mountain national parks. Engagement on plan development presents opportunities to incorporate principles and actions respecting the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
3. Decision making that is guided by science and Indigenous traditional knowledge
Parks Canada will use the management planning process to reaffirm ecological integrity as its first priority in national park management. To ensure it can respond to the challenges of climate change, impacts to ecological integrity, and development and current visitation levels, Parks Canada will advance and make the best use of conservation science and Indigenous traditional knowledge. This framework will safeguard these parks as treasured places for generations to come.
4. Openness and transparency
The management planning process provides an opportunity for increased public and Indigenous involvement and for Parks Canada to demonstrate transparency in its decision making.


  • Parks Canada has completed a state of the park assessment for all seven national parks.
  • We are inviting input on key considerations for the plan review process in early 2019.
  • Draft plans are ready for review in 2021.
  • Final plans will be tabled in Parliament in 2021.

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