The cardinal principle for managing national parks is to provide, to the greatest possible extent, for the permanent preservation of the area's natural condition and the protection of the area's cultural resources and values.Natural condition means protection from human interference—allowing natural processes to proceed. Protecting a park's natural condition can require considerable action. This is what park management is all about.
Other management principles for national parks are:
- to present the park's cultural and natural resources and their values; and
- to ensure that park use is nature-based and ecologically sustainable.
So parks are managed for nature first. But nature-based recreational use is encouraged, where possible.
Mining, including oil and gas exploration is not allowed on national parks.
Public utilities such as roads and powerlines are sometimes located on parks. Often they existed before the parks were declared. Telecommunication facilities are sometimes established on national parks.
If these types of development have to proceed, park managers must ensure that any adverse impacts are kept to a minimum.
A national park is set aside forever. A park or part of a park can only be revoked or cancelled with the consent of Parliament.