James Bernard Harkin

James Bernard Harkin, environmentalist (b at Vankleek Hill, Ont 30 Jan 1875; d at Ottawa 27 Jan 1955).

James Bernard Harkin, environmentalist (b at Vankleek Hill, Ont 30 Jan 1875; d at Ottawa 27 Jan 1955). He worked in Ottawa as a newspaperman 1893-1901 and then served as secretary to Clifford Sifton and Frank Oliver, successive ministers of the interior. When a distinct parks branch was established by the ministry in 1911, Harkin became its first commissioner. With skilful eloquence he promoted the concept of unspoiled but publicly accessible wilderness, believing that parks represented the moral value of outdoor recreation, a haven from degenerate cities. His boundless energy pushed the parks system into 25 years of expansion. An acknowledged leader in wildlife conservation, he was instrumental in framing the Migratory Birds Convention Act in 1917.