By Joe Obad
Forty years ago, the Department of Geography held the University of Calgary’s first international conference, which helped define the role of parks in Canada. This May, U of C will celebrate the anniversary of that 1968 Canadian National Parks Today and Tomorrow meeting with a new conference designed to look at protected areas in the 21st century.
The Canadian Parks for Tomorrow: 40th Anniversary Conference will review what has taken place in the last four decades and seek to define where our parks are heading in the future.
“This conference will convene the brightest minds to address the challenges of managing parks within our rapidly changing landscapes,” says conference organizer Mike Quinn, a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design. “Protected areas of the 21st century require innovative approaches and partnerships. These will provide both inspirational environments and the ecological goods and services required to sustain our economy.”
The conference will bring together scholars, policy makers and the public to discuss the history, current status and future directions of protected areas and their role in society. It is organized in two parts—presentations and discussions will take place at U of C from Thursday, May 8 to Sunday, May 11. That will be followed by field trips on May 12 and 13 to world heritage sites, national and provincial parks and other protected areas and cultural facilities in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions.
“We anticipate wide-ranging discussion on contemporary challenges facing parks and protected areas in Canada and beyond, with topics as diverse as cruise tourism in a warming Arctic, conservation of cultural and historical landscapes, establishment of marine conservation areas, indigenous stewardship and planning for persons with disabilities,” says Dianne Draper, conference co-chair and professor of geography.
For more information or to register for the conference visit www.parks4tomorrow.ucalgary.ca/.