ALBERTANS LOVE PARKS: PHASE IICategory: 2017, Current, Grant, Land Use, Major Project
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Southern Alberta
Alberta’s parks are a core part of our culture – a recent study commissioned by CPAWS indicates that 76% of Albertans recreate outdoors and 88% want more wilderness protected. Parks are critical for clean air and water, biodiversity, species at risk and adaption to climate change. The Government of Alberta has committed to meeting the international target of 17% protection of lands by 2020. We have a rare and timely opportunity to support and push a willing government to expand our parks system and improve parks policy.
In 2018, government will also be updating Alberta’s parks acts. Changes to these Acts need to ensure protections align with international standards including reducing industrial activity in parks and ensuring clear definition of permitted and restricted activities (current legislation leaves decisions to ministerial discretion in each protected area). The management intent of parks should explicitly state that nature is the number one priority.
CPAWS Northern Alberta, is currently completing gap analyses of Alberta’s park network and industrial disturbance within parks. To date, the Parks Disturbance Analysis has concluded that over 50% of the parks and protected areas in Alberta are over 50% disturbed.
In this next phase of the project we will continue this work with recommendations to the government on new parks and changes to parks legislations, as well as engage with recreationalists and the Alberta public to increase understanding of the value of strong policy and well-managed protected areas.
Photo credit: William Matheson