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Liberal Leader Brian Gallant says if his government is re-elected it would create two new provincial parks and increase New Brunswick’s protected areas, one of many promises made ahead of the Sept. 24 election.

In a release, Gallant said creating two new parks – bringing New Brunswick’s number of provincial parks up to 26 – would “help protect our environment, enhance the tourism industry in our province, and provide more recreational opportunities for our families.”

He did not say where he wants to see the new parks, but said the process to select them would involve consultations with First Nations communities, local governments and local service districts.

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The government would also increase the amount of Crown lands designated as protected natural areas from eight per cent to 10 per cent by 2020, Gallant said.

Protected natural areas are legally-protected nature reserves, and in New Brunswick they host a variety of wildlife and plants.

As well, the party intends to grow conservation areas on Crown lands by 150,000 hectares over the next five years, increasing the ratio from 23 per cent to 28 per cent.

Gallant said the conservation areas, where many Acadian forest species exist, will be located near existing parks and protected areas when possible, or near other patches of old forest habitat “in order to increase the benefit of the existing areas and to support greater connectivity among areas.”

“By increasing protected natural areas and conservation lands in New Brunswick, we are helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of these ecosystems which, as we know, are important contributors to the economic vibrancy of our province,” he said.

The province’s Green Party also made promises Sunday, with leader David Coon saying a Green government would implement a year-round ferry service between Campobello Island and the rest of New Brunswick. Currently, the ferry only runs from June until September.

He also committed to restoring the now-defunct Gagetown Ferry service and setting up other regional and inter-regional public transportation systems.

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The Greens will host Elizabeth May and other party leaders on Monday during a rally in the province’s capital.

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