Proposal to Reclassify and Expand Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area

Proposal to Reclassify and Expand Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area
30 Sep 2018

Alberta Environment and Parks is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on the proposed reclassification and expansion of the Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area (Twin River HRNA). Twin River HRNA is located in southern Alberta, approximately 10 km west of the Town of Milk River and currently protects over 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) of grassland within the Milk River Ridge. 

Through this proposal, the Government of Alberta would be fulfilling commitments made in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) to address the future status of the Twin River HRNA. More specifically, government is:

  1. Gathering input to determine support for the reclassification of Twin River from a Natural Area to a Heritage Rangeland.
  2. Gathering feedback on a proposed expansion to include 3,173 hectares (7,840 acres) of adjacent grasslands.   

Additional Context

Twin River HRNA is located within the Milk River Ridge in southern Alberta.  In 1999, the lands were designated under Parks’ legislation as a Natural Area, arising from the Special Places 2000 program. This initiative relied on local committees to identify and support nominations for new parks and protected areas in Alberta. Including the term Heritage Rangeland in the name of the Natural Area signaled government’s intent to re-designate the site under the Heritage Rangelands class once the legislation was in place. 

The proposed expansion to more than 23,000 hectares would increase Alberta’s representation of protected grasslands, which is one of the most endangered terrestrial ecosystems on the planet. Grasslands are substantively under-represented in the parks and protected areas system. At present, only 1.3 per cent of Alberta’s grasslands falls under legal protection and meet the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s definition of a protected area.

The reclassification would also honour the original intent behind the establishment of the site. The designation provides a more appropriate legislative mechanism to manage and protect the area, and recognizes the importance of grazing in the Grasslands Natural Region. 

During the public consultation phase of the SSRP, leaseholders approached government and asked that their grazing leases be included in Twin River HRNA. The proposed boundary amendment would add approximately 3,173 hectares (7,840 acres) of Crown land, providing stronger legal protection to the Grasslands Natural Region.

Public Comment

The public input period for the reclassification and boundary amendment of the Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area has been extended until September 30, 2018.

Alberta Parks encourages and values your input on this project. Please click on the survey link below to provide your feedback. Additional comments or questions can be sent to the email and mail addresses listed below. 

Online Survey

Email:  [email protected] 

Attn: Senior Planner
Re: Twin River Reclassification & Expansion
      Alberta Environment & Parks
      Room 416, 909 3rd Avenue North
      Lethbridge, Alberta T1H 0H5

Aboriginal Consultation

Separate consultation with First Nations will follow The Government of Alberta’s First Nations Consultation Policy on Land Management and Resource Development (2013) and associated guidelines (2014). First Nations consultation will be launched at the same time as public consultation.

What Happens After Public Comment

A decision regarding the proposal will be made after the 30-day public consultation period ends and all comments have been considered.

The resulting proposed action(s) will be posted online at once a decision has been reached.

Media Inquiries

Environment and Parks
[email protected] 

Further Information

Frequently Asked Questions
Grasslands Fact Sheet
Comparison of Heritage Rangelands and Natural Areas
Map of Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area