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What role does Parks Canada play in the management of national historic sites?

Parks Canada manages one of the most extensive networks of protected historic and natural places in the world. The mandate of the Parks Canada Agency is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Why does the Cave and Basin National Historic Site have a management plan and what does it do?

Parks Canada requires the national historic sites they administer to have either a management plan or management statement. A management plan sets the vision and strategic direction for the site for the next 10 years. It outlines specific objectives and actions to achieve this vision and direction in three key areas: cultural resource protection, education and visitor experience.

Why is the Cave and Basin National Historic Site important?

The thermal waters found at the Cave and Basin have played an important role in the area for hundreds of years. Indigenous groups have identified the Cave and Basin as a sacred and spiritual place where their people gathered for cultural ceremonies that are still practiced today. However, in 1885, Indigenous access to the Cave and Basin was fundamentally changed. Through an Order in Council, the Government of Canada set aside 26 square kilometres of land in and around the Cave and Basin to protect the thermal springs on Sulphur Mountain for the benefit of Canadians. Two years later, this was expanded to 665 square kilometres, becoming the core of the first national park in Canada. The Cave and Basin is one of Parks Canada’s most visited national historic sites.

Ecologically, the thermal springs are among the most unique natural features of Banff National Park, providing habitat for rare plants, invertebrates and the endangered Banff Springs Snail.

What will be included in the new plan?

The new management plan for the Cave and Basin proposes to focus on the following three strategies:

  1. Using an integrated approach to protecting cultural resources and natural landscape features, providing memorable visitor opportunities and maintaining assets;
  2. Building relationships with Indigenous Peoples and organizations; and
  3. Enriching and creating enjoyable experiences.

Why should I comment on the draft plan?

A key component in the development of any management plan is getting the views of interested Indigenous nations, key stakeholders and Canadians. It is only through public involvement that Parks Canada can ensure that the future direction of the site reflects the perspectives and aspirations of the people it is held in trust for.

What will happen to my comments?

At the close of the public comment period, Parks Canada will carefully review and analyze all feedback received. The information gathered in the engagement process will be used to refine the plans prior to final approval and tabling in parliament.

A ‘What We Heard’ document will be created that summarizes public input and how this input impacted the plan. The ‘What We Heard’ document will be posted on the Cave and Basin National Historic Site website.

How can I get more information and/or comment on the plan?

Parks Canada is inviting comments on the draft management plan from November 26th to March 1st, 2019. The draft plan and additional information on the national historic site and public review process can be found at www.talkwithparks.ca. The website also provides an opportunity to comment on the plan. Additional comments can be submitted to pc.opinion.pc@canada.ca or

Tracey LeBlanc

Integrated Land Use, Policy and Planning

Parks Canada

101 Mountain Avenue, Box 900

Banff, AB

T1L 1K2