The contribution of stewardship to park planning and management in Ontario: A study of Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay Islands national parks
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AbstractParks Canada has adopted ecosystem-based management as a means of maintaining ecological integrity. However, ecosystems often extend beyond park boundaries. Where parks share boundaries with other government-protected areas, arrangements have often been made for cooperation. These arrangements usually result in mutual benefits for the protected areas involved. Where parks share boundaries with privately owned land, stewardship is one of the methods being used to implement conservation-based practices. This study investigated the extent to which stewardship contributes to park planning and management in Ontario using the Georgian Bay Islands and Bruce Peninsula National Parks as case studies. Results show that stewardship is being practiced in the parks' greater ecosystem. The main tools used to encourage and implement stewardship were education, conservation easements and property acquisition. The impact of these tools was reduced by issues which include the general theme of educational messages, limited funds for property acquisition, and uncoordinated property acquisition between the Non Government Organisations. The parks are involving the local community in park planning and management but in a rather limited way, with Georgian Bay Islands National Park offering less opportunity for involvement than Bruce Peninsula National Park. This implies that the contribution of stewardship to park management is still limited. If these two parks are to benefit from stewardship in the long run, attitudes have to be pro-conservation and management practices in the greater park ecosystem have to be complementary to the parks' goal of maintaining ecological integrity.