Defend Alberta's Parks!
The Alberta Government announced that they are eliminating or privatizing 184 sites from the Alberta Parks system. Twenty parks will be completely or partially closed immediately for the upcoming camping season, with 11 of these sites being completely closed and services being discontinued for the remaining 9. Another 164 are slated for closure or privatization. Other impacts are the closure of visitor centres, discontinuation of popular groomed cross-country ski trails, a shortened operating season for many campgrounds, and increased camping and service fees at all sites. These changes will be implemented May 1st.
The government plans on selling or transferring parks to private partners to manage some of the sites removed from the parks system, citing First Nations, municipalities and non-profit societies as possible managers. However it is unlikely that many non-profit groups have the resources to adequately take care of these areas. Sites without interest from a private partner could still be removed from the parks system completely and revert to vacant public land - something that could lead to industrial resource extraction instead of conservation.
This is an outright attack on the Alberta Parks system, with the potential loss of up to 39% of all parks in the province, including several areas expressly meant to provide wilderness education and conservation of the land. It is not just the government choosing to utilize third-party operators to a handful of campgrounds; divestment of parks is short-sighted and puts our natural heritage at risk. It is outrageous that a government that campaigned on the promise of improved open and transparent consultation for public land use has announced these sweeping changes without any public consultation. Many of these parks have provided reliable camping areas for Albertans to safely enjoy and make memories with friends and family for decades.
Write to the Minister of Environment and Parks and tell him how important properly protected, public provincial parks are to you. This government must listen to Albertans who love and know these areas the best.
Click here to see which of your favorite camping locations are included, and here to see a map showing all of the impacted parks across the province.
Use the letter tool below to let your elected representatives know that you care about your public parks and do not support them being eliminated and privatized. Add your own story on why parks are important to you.