What is happening in our parks?

January 9, 2018
By: admin

What’s happening in our Parks?

Alberta’s Parks and Protected Areas are spectacular examples of the province’s rich natural heritage and biodiversity. CPAWS actively campaigns to keep them this way and to expand their existing network. CPAWS’ work focuses on both national and provincial parks within Alberta. In northern Alberta, we work with three national parks (Jasper, Elk Island, and Wood Buffalo National Park), and numerous provincial parks, wilderness areas, and public recreation areas.

Did you know?

Alberta is blessed with wonderful natural treasures. Alberta’s parks and protected areas attract over 8.5 million visitors each year – 90% of whom are Albertans. However, these treasures are on the verge of becoming lost forever.

Alberta is home to 6 natural regions (21 subregions), each of which should be protected by the parks system. Only 14.9% of Alberta is in a protected area with 1/3 protected by the Province and 2/3 in Alberta’s five National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Waterton, Wood Buffalo & Elk Island). Four of the six natural regions have less than 4% protection, with only alpine and boreal regions having greater protection due to their generally more remote and inaccessible locations.



When wilderness falls in a park or protected area we assume this means it is in fact protected (i.e. safe from threats and ecologically healthy). Unfortunately this is not the case. Alberta parks are facing numerous threats and pressures compromising the health, or ecological integrity, of Alberta’s wilderness.

Inadequate legal protection.

New industrial activity in parks.

Insufficient resources for park management.

Motorized recreation (OHVs).

Small size of most parks.

Islandization of parks.

ie. Park is surrounded by development.

Alberta’s protected areas network is far from complete and over a decade behind schedule.


Alberta’s Parks and Protected Areas need:

Increased funding to properly manage parks and enforce protection.

Stronger and expanded legislation making ecological integrity the top priority.

Improved network design and land management to connect protected areas, shelter them from adjacent activities, and ensure natural diversity is preserved.

What is CPAWS doing?

We created the Conservation Blueprint, a tool which identifies areas of high conservation value to aid in the creation of new protected areas to ensure that they are in good places for Alberta’s important species and ecosystems.

We encourage Albertan’s to Love Your Headwaters and advocate for the designation of the Bighorn Backcountry as a Wildland Park.

We supported the Mikisew Cree First Nation’s petition to UNESCO to have Wood Buffalo National Park placed on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

Our submissions to the Government of Alberta on the North Saskatchewan Regional Plan called for the Bighorn backcountry to be designated as a Wildland Provincial Park, for protection for the Ministik Bird Sanctuary, and for parks in the North Saskatchewan River valley, the Parkland Dunes, and the Bodo Hills.

We encourage Canada and Alberta to make the necessary changes from the recommendations outlined in UNSECO’s Report in order to improve the state of Wood Buffalo National Park.

Our ongoing Stand Up for Jasper campaign focuses on stopping increased commercial and other irresponsible development in Jasper National Park through engagement on the new 10-year parks management plan. 

Worked with other organizations to stop the Province from undermining current parks legislation through revisions to the Parks Act (Bill 29).

We continue to encourage northern Albertans to Connect with Nature.

Continue to support and advocate for a scientifically sound representative protected areas network in Alberta that protects at least 17% of all our ecosystems by 2020 and 30% by 2030.

Provided a strong voice for ecological integrity through feedback on the Jasper Mountain National Park and Elk Island National Park Management Plans.


Take Action

Share your support for National Urban Parks

Email your MLA to let them know you support National Urban Parks and would like to see Alberta be a part of a national network of urban parks.

Take Action

Protect the Wilderness

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