In Alberta there are five national parks: Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, Elk Island National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park. Four of the listed parks are considered part of World Heritage Sites, making them of international significance. Parks Canada is the agency responsible for the management of our national parks, meaning that although the parks may be located within a province or territory, they are under federal jurisdiction and are protected under the National Parks Act.
Keeping National Parks Accountable to Nature
If National Parks already hold protected status, you may be wondering why a conservation organization like ours would keep a close eye on them. Parks Canada’s mandate includes protecting and preserving the country’s natural and cultural heritage, and with that comes a balancing act of different interests within the national parks. While ecological integrity is supposed to be the first priority in the management of our National Parks, other pressures related to visitation and development can sometimes conflict with that priority. Our role is to stay informed on issues occurring in our National Parks and engage the public in feedback opportunities to encourage Parks Canada to act as leaders in facing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss[link] and model a path to reconciliation with Indigenous communities. Below, you can learn more about different national parks in Alberta and related conservation concerns.
Alberta Parks and National Parks are two separate parks systems. The former is in provincial and the latter, although it is located in a province, is federal jurisdiction. Learn more about Alberta's unique and diverse park system and how increasing parks and protected areas in the province can contribute to international nature protection goals.