Well a couple things that stand out to me are that the report itself comes from Parks Canada, so it's a bit of a self-assessment. The article also points out that reports are to be issued every two years, but this has been the first since 2011.
Parks mandate is: On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.
If ecological integrity is a mandate, than declining conditions of parks can only be seen as a failure. Likewise, the ideas of free passes, skywalks, more chairlifts, and development in general would seem to be at odds with protection. It's a shame what the report shows about Waterton, for example.
What do you mean by "growth" anyway?
Lets be clear hear, the report shows an improvement, a modest improvement, but an improvement none the less. Its also good that the Minister responsible for Parks Canada has restarted issuing these reports and hope they continue to do so every 2 years.
You will note that the mandate is not only to "protect" but to also "present" and well as to "foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment". If we overly restrict access to parks (which I assume only means restricting access to "other" people), or present an experience that is crowded, dirty and bursting at the seems, then we sever the public's connection with these space, and thus the support needed to maintain and invest in them. The Sunshine Gondola exposes the young, old, infirm, and disabled to the splendor of an alpine meadow in the summer, learn to camp programs expose new immigrants to a core aspect of the Canadian identity, driving onto the Athabasca Glacier puts the impact of climate change right in front of your face. Each of these has an ecological footprint of various size, but (and while others may disagree) I believe this is a fair trade to build the popular and political support needed to sustain and grow our parks system
When I say growth, I refer to the expansion and creation of new protected areas, as well as the infrastructure needed to support increased numbers in a way that allows human impact to be managed and mitigated