GOT Parks? Canada sure does!
GOT (Get Out To) Parks is a joint initiative between the Canadian Parks Council and the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada. Our ultimate goal is to provide an online destination for young people to learn about Canada’s national, provincial and territorial parks and to get outside and experience parks firsthand.
GOT Parks was first started in December of 2012 with a website designed by young Canadians, for young Canadians. An advisory group was formed, made up of a collection of young people who were passionate about connecting youth with all the beautiful parks Canada has to offer. The advisory group, which is now known as the GOT Parks Team, is responsible for developing website content, providing fresh ideas and feedback and ensuring the site stays true to its intended audience. We are also active in promoting and marketing GOT Parks by contributing to its various social media accounts. We have a diversity of educational backgrounds and outdoor recreational experiences. The team ranges in ages from 17 to 31 and we reside across Canada from coast to coast.
Although I cannot speak for the entire GOT Parks Team I thought I would share a few of my favourite parks. As a resident of Calgary, Alberta I am extremely fortunate to have Banff National Park directly in my backyard. Banff is the birthplace of Canada’s national parks system and is filled with endless opportunities for recreational activities, photography enthusiasts, wildlife watching, cultural treasures, breathtaking views, natural wonders and educational experiences. I have spent countless hours exploring all the park has to offer and yet my Banff bucket list just keeps growing.
Kananaskis Country, a system of provincial parks, recreation areas, wildlands and natural areas, is also a personal favourite of mine. Kananaskis’ proximity to Calgary makes it really appealing for quick day-trips. It’s also a cheaper option over national parks because a park pass is not required and there are typically fewer tourists in K-Country than more popular destinations such as the Banff town site or Lake Louise. I also work within walking distance of the Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park and the Ghost River Wilderness Area, which are both part of the Kananaskis park system. I have had the pleasure of spending a significant amount of time in and around both parks with my students. Accessing these parks isn’t the easiest thing to do, so we typically have the place all to ourselves.
Lastly, Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan holds a special place in my heart. Not only is it located in my home province, but a canoe trip to Grey Owl’s cabin last summer turned into a backcountry adventure for the ages. This trip included knee-deep mud, gale-force winds, a capsized canoe, an unexpected 25-kilometre hike, a food shortage, a narrow-miss with a black bear and ultimately a moonlight escape from the backcountry. It was surely a trip that I won’t forget for a very long time. Although it may sound like a negative, the trip was actually a wonderful learning opportunity and it was more than worth it to step inside the famed naturalist’s cabin.
For more information about GOT Parks and our team please visit the website or follow us on Twitter (@getouttoparks), Facebook and Instagram (gotparks).