Parks Canada is hoping to ease the minds of southwest residents who are concerned about potential expansion of a national park in the area. 

The federal government is not acquiring any new land under Bill S-14 but rather updating to formally include land acquired in the past within Grasslands National Park’s set boundaries.  

Patricia Fornarolo, parks superintendent for Grasslands National Park, said the bill is simply a proposal for an administrative update to the Canada National Parks Act, among others.  

“Updates to these acts are going to mean that 12 million hectares will now be formally protected under law from a conservation point of view,” she explained. “And the updates include finalizing the establishment of a park reserve in Labrador and the Marine Conservation Area in Nunavut. It is also going to update the boundaries of a National Park reserve and seven existing national parks, including Grasslands National Park.” 

This is going to ensure that the lands already under administration of Parks Canada will receive full protection of the Act (a federal law that regulates the creation and protection of national parks). 

Grasslands National Park’s boundary was defined in 1981 in agreement with the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, and the park was officially proclaimed a National Park 20 years later. 

Fornarolo assured that this update won’t change how the park operates on a day-to-day basis. 

“Residents and visitors may enjoy the park either through camping, horseback riding, hiking, biking and more, just as they're doing today; there's no changes from that perspective,” she said. “Parks Canada is still going to continue to work with ranchers to help manage the grasslands. We currently administer more than a dozen multiyear grazing and paying agreements with ranchers, and that's going to continue for the foreseeable future.”