Government investment in Alberta Parks infrastructure is encouraging, but 175 parks still set to be removed
For Immediate Release: September 15, 2020
ALBERTA – CPAWS Northern and Southern Alberta Chapters are pleased to see the government’s investment in parks infrastructure. However, we are dismayed to hear the Minister continues to move forward with removing 175 parks from the Parks System. The Premier stated in the announcement that “Albertans are a stubborn bunch” and we know that Albertans from across the province continue to ask for a commitment from this government that all of these parks will remain protected within the parks system.
Contrary to the Minister’s statements, parks slated for delisting are not remote or underused and are places loved by Albertan families across the province. Fifty-three of these parks are within Kananaskis which is well used and loved by Calgarians and other Albertans. Once parks lose their protected area status they are not protected and are open to other uses including industrial and commercial uses, which compromise conservation goals and public accessibility.
“In fact, the examples of Fish Creek Provincial Park and Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park show that the government can successfully partner with organizations without removing their protected area status,” says Katie Morrison, Conservation Director with CPAWS Southern Alberta chapter. “There is no clear reason that these parks should lose their protection.”
This announcement also shows that even for parks with partners, these areas still need government investment – which was also shown in the documents received through a Freedom of Information request.
“While the government has stated that their plan to delist parks was based on budget decisions, it is clear that delisting parks and partnering with Albertans will not necessarily save government money, but it will remove opportunities for Albertans to visit other amazing parks in Alberta,” says Chris Smith, Parks Coordinator with CPAWS Northern Alberta.
The Government of Alberta must reverse their plan to remove 37% of our parks from the system to ensure Albertans can continue to safely and responsibly access the many amazing natural areas Alberta has to offer. Albertans can continue to push for this outcome by visiting Defend Alberta Parks to order a lawn sign in Calgary and Edmonton and send an email to your MLA.
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.