Did you know that Gatineau Park is not actually a provincial or federal park? Sure, it looks like a park, and operates like a park, but unlike it’s federal and provincial brethren it lacks any kind of forma, legal boundary and there is no legislation protecting it’s integrity.

This means that roads, housing developments, even shopping malls could potentially be built on Gatineau Park land, should the neighbouring municipalities decide and the NCC acquiesce, putting both the 128 endangered species AND our recreational enjoyment of Ottawa’s crown jewel in perpetual jeopardy.

To prevent the unthinkable, CPAWS-OV has mounted a campaign to get the Federal Government to enact legislation to officially protect the borders of Gatineau Park, to compel municipalities to consider development plans which keep the ecological integrity of Gatineau Park intact, and engage locals in the process.

It’s hard not to fall in love with the extraordinary biodiversity of Gatineau Park. This beautiful wilderness has 118 rare or endangered species, numerous wetlands, and 50 lakes!

Did you know? Gatineau Park is at risk!

You may be surprised to find out that Gatineau Park is a park in name only.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Gatineau Park. Rich in biodiversity, Gatineau Park is comprised of 361 square kilometers of wilderness, 118 rare or endangered species, and 50 lakes! Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the opportunities that Gatineau Park provides for all sorts of activities, including hiking, cross-country skiing, camping, paddling, and rock climbing.

Most of Gatineau Park belongs to the federal government and the National Capital Commission (NCC) manages the land, but it does not have the permanent legal protection provided to “real” national parks.

Without governing legislation and full parliamentary oversight, the same oversight given to all our Canadian national parks under the National Parks Act, portions of the park will continue to be subjected to use for housing development, the construction of shopping centres, and the creation of new roads as in the past.

Gatineau Park has the potential to become a core protected area within a much larger region that protects natural ecosystems and maintains viable populations of all native species. It is important that the lands surrounding the Park are properly managed to allow for corridors and connections with other natural areas.

CPAWS-OV is calling on Parliament to:

  • Establish Gatineau Park in legislation and dedicate it to future generations;
  • Ensure that the priority of the Park’s management be conservation and ecological integrity;
  • Stipulate that changes to Gatineau Park boundaries can only be made by parliamentary approval, as is the case for Canada’s national parks
  • Help us by signing this petition!

CPAWS-OV is calling on the municipalities which border Gatineau Park to:

  • actively participate in the protection of Gatineau Park
  • consider the ecological integrity and benefits of having a healthy, beautiful park in their backyard when planning development
  • create wildlife corridors and buffer zones in their areas of jurisdiction

CPAWS-OV is calling on the NCC to:

  • Manage the park as an IUCN Class II protected area
  • Stop all new roads and development inside the Park
  • Acquire critical or ecologically sensitive lands around the park to serve as a buffer zone
  • Work with local municipalities to define and establish viable ecological corridors between the park and surrounding lands


CPAWS-OV is calling on You to:

  • Sign our petition to protect Gatineau Park
  • Contact the Minister responsible for Gatineau Park, Pablo Rodriguez, and ask her to introduce legislation which creates Gatineau Park in the legal context, defines the boundaries of the park, and protects its ecological integrity.
  • Contact your local MP and ask them to push the government to introduce legislation, and to support any legislation that creates Gatineau Park in the legal context.
  • Contact the mayors of the Pontiac, La Peche, Chelsea, and the city of Gatineau, as well as your municipal councillor and ask them what they are doing to ensure that Gatineau Park has an adequate buffer zone and corridors linking it to other natural areas.
  • Contact the NCC and express your concerns about the pressures facing Gatineau Park
  • Take personal responsibility for your park. Tread lightly, report any inappropriate activities or damage in the park, and become actively involved when decisions are being made about the park or its surrounding lands.
  • CPAWS-OV hosts information booths at Mountain Equipment Co-op, local fairs and festivals, and other shopping outlets throughout the year. Contact us at ov-outreach@cpaws.org to find out when we’ll be hosting a booth near you.
  • As a non-profit organization, CPAWS-OV always welcomes new volunteers! If you would like to help us spread the word about our Gatineau Park campaign or become involved with the campaign committee, please contact us at ov-outreach@cpaws.org


  • Gatineau Park has the greatest diversity of habitats of any park in Quebec, with the largest number of endangered species. It is a park of national importance that includes forests, lakes, streams, peat bogs, swamps, and the fragile Eardley escarpment.
  • The eastern wolf, black bear, beaver, lynx, fisher, northern flying squirrel, white-tailed deer, and otter can all be found within its boundaries, along with 230 species of birds and over 1000 species of plants.
  • Gatineau Park provides unsurpassed recreational opportunities on over 200 kilometres of hiking and ski trails and 125 kilometres of bike trails, only minutes from Parliament Hill.
  • In 1970 CPAWS-OV was founded specifically to fight for the protection of Gatineau Park. At that time the NCC development plan would have seen a series of roads, and even hotels, in the centre of the park.

To learn more about the history of CPAWS-OV in Gatineau Park, click here.

[Posted from CPAWS-OV website]

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