We launched a legal case on behalf of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) challenging the legality of a 21 year logging lease that would have allowed Canadian Forestry Products to log a 49,700 hectare tract inside Wood Buffalo National Park in northeastern Alberta. Our lawyers argued that logging in the park was inconsistent with the government’s public trust duty to maintain it. The case never went to trial. Instead, the federal government capitulated and changed its policy to prevent future logging in national parks.
CPAWS v. Wood Buffalo National Park et al. (1992) presented an important conservation opportunity as well as an opportunity to argue that the government has a public trust duty to protect and preserve public parks.
This case has had a far-reaching impact in terms of protecting parkland. It is also a clear example of how proactive litigation can be used to change public policy and promote environmental protection.