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BANFF, ALBERTA, September 8, 2009 — Blake Richards, Member of Parliament for Wild Rose, on behalf of the Honourable Jim Prentice, Canada’s Environment Minister, Minister responsible for Parks Canada and Minister responsible for Southern Alberta, today announced more than $13.8 million in funding, over the next two years, to revitalize the Cave and Basin National Historic Site in Banff National Park – the birthplace of Canada’s national park system.“The Government of Canada is pleased to celebrate Parks Canada’s leadership in conservation and tourism with an investment in the revitalization of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site,” said Mr. Richards. “This project celebrates the 125th anniversary of Banff National Park in 2010 and the Centennial of Canada’s National Park Service in 2011 and will be an important physical legacy where Canadians and the world will have a vast array of opportunities to learn more about, and enjoy discovering our magnificent system of real, inspiring, national heritage places.”
“While the area has been used by First Nations for thousands of years, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site commemorates the discovery of the Banff hot springs by three railway workers in 1883,” said Minister Prentice. “That discovery, and subsequent disagreement over ownership, lead to the creation of Canada’s first national park in 1885 to ensure that the area would belong to all Canadians forever. This was the seed of inspiration that grew into Canada’s grand system of special heritage places that includes a network of 42 national parks, 162 national historic sites and three national marine conservation areas and I am delighted to see that its vocation as a destination of choice will be maintained and enhanced through this investment for the benefit of Canadians now and in the future.”
The revitalized Cave and Basin National Historic Site will provide a new historical and cultural adventure for Canadians and visitors from around the world. The site will host an array of visitor activities with new media, interpretive displays, an open plaza with a forecourt water feature, and will also host special events such as community gatherings and citizenship ceremonies. The project will also include major conservation work on the historic buildings at the site, habitat restoration for the endangered Banff Springs Snail, and the creation of new contemporary features to enhance the site.
“Today’s announcement showcases how, through working together, Canadians can breathe life into our rich history and create innovative tourism products that respect the environment,” added Mr. Richards. “Not only will this initiative provide regional construction jobs and economic activity, it will build stronger ties to the Town of Banff and community. This will become a place to visit, gather, share and learn – a place where people can celebrate the past and embrace future opportunities.”
Design and terms of reference will be finalized pending the successful completion of an environmental assessment. Construction could begin as early as spring 2010, with project completion by spring of 2012.
Banff National Park is part of a system of national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites that is recognized as one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected areas in the world. Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s cultural and natural heritage are presented and protected for the enjoyment, education and appreciation of all Canadians today and in the future.
Backgrounder associated with this News Release.
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