Advisory: Will Alberta’s Plan for Parks include Albertans’ priorities?

Monday, April 20th, 2009, at 9:30 am in Calgary, the Honourable Cindy Ady, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation will be announcing the Alberta Government’s new policy for the province’s protected areas and parks – Alberta’s Plan for Parks.

It will set the direction for all of Alberta’s protected areas and parks for the next 10 years, including:

  • The Government’s “new direction”; one that in Draft #2 did not include protection as the main purpose for protected areas & parks.
  • The extent to which enough protected areas & parks will be established during land-use planning and before development forecloses these options forever.

Naturalists, stewards and conservation organizations have steadfastly pointed out that Draft #2 left out the priorities Albertans have identified (

Check list – Does Alberta’s Plan for Parks include Albertans’ priorities?

Chapter Title & Sub-Title
in Plan

What’s needed there to meet Albertan’s priorities

1. Introduction
D. How was the Plan for Parks developed?

(pg. 6 of attached Draft #2)

Plan needs to state Albertan’s actual top priorities as per government surveys (Ipsos-Reid, the 2008 Survey of Albertan’s Priorities for Provincial Parks).  Quoting from those:

  • Top priority for investment – set aside more land in an undisturbed state as parks.

  • Alberta should create more parks to balance residential growth and industrial development in the province.

  • While both are important, protecting the natural environment should be a higher priority for Alberta’s parks than providing recreation.

  • Maintenance of existing facilities.

  • Increased enforcement… within parks [regarding] …disturbance of visitors… and environmental protection.

2. The Decision-making Context
D. Responsibility for Parks

(pg. 9 of Draft #2)

Plan needs to state that Alberta Tourism, Parks & Recreation has a leadership role in the establishment of protected areas & parks, not just their management.  Without Premier Stelmach giving the Minister & her department a leadership role in this policy, the Government will continue to fail to meet its own targets for new parks set in the 1990s.

3. The Decision-making Framework
B. Vision for Parks

(pg. 11 of Draft #2)

Needs to include “preservation” or “protection” of the natural world as the main purpose for parks.  The government’s website states the previous vision developed through extensive public consultation as:
Parks and protected areas are valued as natural landscapes that preserve the environmental diversity of the province and inspire society to enjoy and rediscover our connection with the natural world.

Albertans are at risk of losing “preservation” or protection as the priority with the Government’s “new direction” for parks to be announced Monday, April 20th.

3. The Decision-making Framework
F. Priority Actions

(pg. 14 & 19 of Draft #2)

Needs to state a priority action of establishing more parks & protected areas to balance development, maintain & restore ecosystem health, meet public demand for natural areas & wilderness and fully represent Alberta’s natural diversity.

In Draft #2, filling those gaps would not be addressed until 3 years from now, after the Government’s regional land-use plans are done and legislated.

For more information contact:

  • Sierra Club Canada :
    • DIANNE PACHAL, phone 403 234-7368
    • Will be present at the Minister’s announcement, 9:30 a.m. Monday, Apr. 20th, at Fish Creek Provincial Park, Bow Valley Ranch Visitor Centre, Calgary, AB.
  • CPAWS – Northern Alberta:
    • CATHY SHIER, phone 780 432-0967
    • GEORGE NEWTON, phone 780 433-7904
  • CPAWS – Southern Alberta: GREGOIRE BELLAND, phone 403 232-6686
  • Federation of Alberta Naturalists: PHILIP PENNER, phone 780 427 8124