Albertans always care about their parks, not just during a pandemic
For immediate release, June 23, 2020
Edmonton – 17 of the 20 parks that were slated for closure at the beginning of this summer, will temporarily be operated this camping season, according to the Alberta Parks COVID 19 response page which was quietly updated last week. This is an important step in the right direction that demonstrates that the voices of Albertans, saying how much they value Alberta Parks, are making a difference.
We are relieved to see this update, but emphasize that these sites need to be available to Albertans not just this summer, but also in the future. “Parks are always important for our health and wellbeing and for supporting local economies, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are urging the government to reverse these changes permanently to the benefit of our communities and economy,” says Tara Russell, Program Director for CPAWS Northern Alberta.
The update does not address the 164 parks that are still slated for removal from the parks system. If those parks are delisted, they lose their protections under the Parks legislation and represent the potential loss of thousands of public campsites across the province. Katie Morrison, Conservation Director with CPAWS Southern Alberta adds: “It has been inspiring to see so many Albertans stand up for their amazing parks system. We have never had so many people reach out about a single issue, and this is even during this incredible time of upheaval, Albertans have shown that parks are vital to our quality of life and well being.”
It is very important that Albertans continue to voice their concerns over these changes, so that these parks stay open beyond summer 2020, and that the other 164 treasured parks are not privatized and remain protected and public.
The list of parks that will temporarily stay open for the 2020 season includes:
- Stoney Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served
- Sulphur Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served
- Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served
- Notikewin Provincial Park – campground – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served
- Running Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served
- Sheep Creek Provincial Recreation Area – Open on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for June 15 arrivals
- Smoky River South Provincial Recreation Area – campground – Open June 15 as first-come, first-served
- Crow Lake Provincial Park – Open on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for June 19 arrivals
- Kehiwin Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Open on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for June 19 arrivals
- Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area – campground – Open June 19 as first-come, first-served
- Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation Area – campground – Open June 19 as first-come, first-served
- Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park – Tolman Bridge Campgrounds (East and West) – Open June 29 as first-come, first-served
- Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area – Open June 29 as first-come, first-served
- Gooseberry Lake Provincial Park – campground – June 29 (To be confirmed)
- Little Fish Lake Provincial Park – June 29 (To be confirmed) as first-come, first-served
- Engstrom Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 for day use
- Greene Valley Provincial Park – Opened June 1 for day use”
The popular Barrier Lake Visitor Centre, Elbow Valley Visitor Centre, and Dinosaur Provincial Park Comfort Camping sites remain closed. The visitor centres provided important trail safety information to those setting off into the rocky mountains, an introduction to responsible use of our provincial parks for tourists, and important wildlife safety tips.
To learn more or take action visit Defend Alberta Parks
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land and water and ensuring our parks are managed to protect the biodiversity within them. Over the last 50+ years, CPAWS has played a lead role in protecting over half a million square kilometres – an area bigger than the entire Yukon Territory. Our vision is to protect at least half of our public land and water so that future generations can experience Canada’s irreplaceable wilderness.
CPAWS has chapters in almost every province and territory across Canada, and two chapters here in Alberta – a Southern Alberta chapter located in Calgary and a Northern Alberta chapter located in Edmonton. As a collaborative organization, CPAWS works closely with government of all levels, industry representatives, and communities to manage our impact on a shared landscape. We also advocate for the creation of parks and protected areas for the benefit of both current and future generations of Canadians.