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Economic Benefits of Protected Areas

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This report contains compelling evidence that the completion of a protected areas network in western Canada’s north would have significant economic and social benefits for northern communities. Due to abundant wilderness and intact watersheds, the report shows that communities in Canada’s north are well positioned to take advantage of economic and demographic trends that are placing increased value on regions with a healthy environment and access to natural attractions. It also highlights why the creation of protected areas represents an important economic opportunity, specifically for northern communities, due to the nature of the economic benefits that occur.

This report focuses on the following three tangible, market-based, economic benefits associated with protected areas: visitor spending, job creation, and government spending and revenues. Visitor spending on nature related activities represents a large potential export market for northern Canada. In addition, several examples demonstrate that government spending on parks is an excellent way to leverage significant amounts of private spending in the economy. The report also shows that protected areas have the potential to generate substantial employment across a broad range of skill levels. Finally, government investment in
protected areas can have considerable effects on the economy, in turn resulting in increased government tax revenues.

By Justin Thompson & Juri Peepre
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

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