banff national park free for kids canada
Photo credit: Philippe Cabot — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Canada Makes National Parks Free for Kids in 2018

‘When we encouraged Canadians to visit our national parks last year, they responded by the millions.’

banff national park free for kids canada
Lake Herbert in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada By Philippe Cabot – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

2017 was a good year for the Canadian outdoors. Admissions to national parks, marine conservation areas, and historic sites were free to everyone in honor of Canada’s 150th birthday. And for 2018 and beyond, that perk will continue for kids.

The Canadian government announced this week national parks will be free for people 17 years old and younger. The move is part of Canada’s 2018 federal budget and follows the success of 2017’s free parks project.

“Some parks were so busy they had to turn people away!” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said during the announcement. It was with this positive response the government decided to make national parks, including marine conservation areas and historical sites, permanently free for kids.

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Free Parks for Kids, Investments in Conservation

The liberal party pledged to make national parks free for children two years ago, and this move fulfills that promise. Adults will still pay admission to national parks and sites, with an average fee of $10.

Non–entrance-related fees, like camping and backcountry permits, will still require payment for kids.

In addition to free parks, the government also proposed a $1.3 billion investment over five years to protect the environment. From that, $500 million go toward a $1 billion nature fund that works to secure private land for conservation and support species protections in Canada.

The money aids in Canada’s pledge to protect 17 percent of the land and inland waters, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, by the end of 2020.

“Our quality of life – and our present and future prosperity – is deeply connected to the environment in which we live,” said Finance Minister Morneau.

“The extraordinary beauty of Canada’s nature, parks, and wild spaces – these are central to our identity as Canadians.”

Nate Mitka

Midwest born, Nate Mitka is based in the GearJunkie Denver office. He is an advocate of all outdoor activities and has developed some habits, like running without headphones, eating raw vegetables, and fixing the chain on his ratty old bike.