In the early 20th century, before Canada held any real conservation laws or any form of protection for nature and wildlife, Charles Gordon Hewitt, James Bernard Harkin and serval other Canadian civil servants, spearheaded the movement towards wildlife conservation throughout Canada and the US.
James Bernard Harkin, (1875-1955), is known as the Father of National parks. Born in the Ottawa area he started as an Environmental journalist that promoted tourism over any kind of mining, forestry and dam building that continues the threaten our nature and wildlife. On May 19th, 1911, Canada established the world’s first national parks service and as the commissioner of Dominion parks (now Parks Canada), within 25 years he founded 13 national parks, established the historic sites and monuments Board, promoted the construction of scenic highways and parkways through the Rockies and drafted legislation to protect Canada’s parks, (Riegert, 2015). Kootenay National park is home to the only landmark in the parks system named after Harkin and Mount Harkin is named after Harkin for his contribution to Parks throughout Canada, (McCracken, 2011). Of course, Harkin is responsible parks and projects throughout Canada, such as Wood Buffalo National Park in AB. It was established in 1922 thanks to Harkin’s efforts and contribution. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 was sought to preserve migrating birds from extinction as a result of slaughter by suppliers to the milliner’s trade, market hunters, and spring shootings. Establishing the legislation in 1917, it was a landmark in the development of the Canadian government’s role in wildlife protection, creating greater clarification of the government’s responsibilities for wildlife, (Riegert, 2015).
“The National Parks ensure that every Canadian, by right of citizenship, will still have free access to vast areas possessing some of the finest scenery in Canada, in which the beauty of the landscape is protected from profanation, the natural wild animals, plants and forests preserved, and the peace and solitude of primeval nature retained.”
-James Bernard Harkin, 1912
McCracken, Krista. (June 26, 2011), Natural Heritage: Kootenay National Park. Retrieved from:
Riegert P.W., (Jan.14, 2015), Charles Gordon Hewitt. Retrieved from: