Happy 100th Birthday, Parks Canada

Parks Canada, the department in charge of Canada’s 42 preserved national parks, turned 100 years old this week. CBC’s Jon Hembrey explains the department’s origins:

Parks Canada can trace its lineage back to 1885, when the country’s first national park – at a tiny 26 square kilometres – was created in Banff, Alta.

The primary aim was to create a tourist destination close to the Canadian Pacific Railway and exploit the economic potential of the area’s hot springs, said Claire Campbell, editor of A Century of Parks Canada, a collection of essays looking at the history of Parks Canada.

In 1911, the federal government created the Dominion Parks Branch, as it was called then, to look after the country’s handful of national parks. It was the first of its kind in the world.

Today, Parks Canada administers parks spread out from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans, covering grasslands and mountain regions and marine environments. They range from remote wilderness preserves to high-volume tourist draws.

Traveling to Canada? Be sure to check out a park near you. Here are some photos from my nearest national park neighbor: Yukon’s Kluane National Park.

[Hat tip to @thebanffcentre]