Wilderness & Parks

Groups across Alberta and the Northwest Territories warn the federal government of impacts of monitoring suspensions on Wood Buffalo National Park

Edmonton – The following letter was submitted on behalf of a joint group including: Fort Chipewyan Métis Association, Northwest Territory Métis Nation, Smith’s Landing First Nation, the Hamlet of Fort Resolution, Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Society Organization, Alberta Wilderness Association, CPAWS Northern Alberta, CPAWS Northwest Territories, Ecology North, Alternatives North, and Council of Canadians – Edmonton and Northwest Territories Chapters. The letter to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change outlines the substantial risks to downstream communities and ecosystems due to the Alberta Energy Regulator’s decision to suspend environmental monitoring for oil & gas projects. The health of Wood Buffalo National Park and the success of its federal Action Plan is undermined by these suspensions. Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park, and continued ecological degradation would be grounds to list as a World Heritage Site “in Danger”. 

Download the full letter on the CPAWS website

Rescinding the Alberta Coal Policy opens headwaters in the eastern slopes of the Rockies to open-pit coal mining

Calgary – The Government of Alberta has rescinded A Coal Development Policy for Alberta (1976; the Coal Policy). CPAWS Southern Alberta is concerned about the impacts this will have on Alberta’s treasured mountains and foothills along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. “There are currently no other land use plans or policies that directly replace the environmental zoning and restrictions under the Coal Policy” says Katie Morrison, Conservation Director for CPAWS Southern Alberta. “This leaves sensitive headwaters regions and treasured landscapes that provide habitat for species like grizzly bear, elk, and threatened native trout, at risk to the disturbances that come with surface coal mining and increased exploration.”

Since 1976, the Coal Policy has provided important land use zoning frameworks which have informed management and development of coal mines along the eastern slopes region of Alberta.

The Coal Policy’s Land Classification System prevented coal development on Category 1 lands and restricted development to underground or in-situ mining under Category 2 lands along the eastern slopes. The Coal Policy Category 2 covers 1,458,000 ha of the headwaters areas that provide the majority of drinking water to downstream communities in Alberta and across the prairies. With the removal of the coal policy, open-pit coal mines will now be permitted on these sensitive lands.

Alberta Coal Policy scrapped, making open-pit coal mining more accessible than ever along the eastern slopes of the Rockies

Alberta is cancelling a long-standing coal policy that provided broad protections within our mountain and foothill regions, making it easier to develop open-pit mines in more ecologically sensitive areas. 

Edmonton – On May 15, 2020 the Government of Alberta announced that they were rescinding  A Coal Development Policy for Alberta (Coal Policy) which has provided sweeping environmental protections for coal development since the 1970’s. This has raised concerns about how this will impact Alberta’s treasured mountains and foothills along the eastern slopes of the Rockies.

Defend Alberta Parks - Virtual Town Hall

Apr 28 2020 - 7:00pm

From the Eventbrite page:

Join CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta chapters to learn about how parks cuts are impacting Albertans.

As you may know, Alberta Parks announced the removal of 164 parks sites and the closure of 20 sites in early March. CPAWS Northern and Southern Alberta chapters have been pushing for this decision to be reversed, but protecting Alberta’s parks is not possible without you!

Defend Alberta Parks - Virtual Town Hall

Apr 8 2020 - 7:00pm

From the Eventbrite page:

Join us to hear from Albertans affected by the closure of and cuts to Parks.

Join us via zoom to hear from Albertans affected by these cuts. We will be joined by representatives from the conservation, recreation and youth communities. Presentations will be followed with an opportunity to hear from you! How are the cuts to parks impacting you?

Strong Majority of Albertans Oppose Government Changes to Parks

Edmonton – A new public opinion survey shows the vast majority of Albertans oppose the changes to Alberta parks announced with the 2020 provincial budget.

On March 2, 2020 Alberta Environment and Parks announced the full or partial closure of 20 parks and the removal of 164 parks from the Alberta Parks System resulting in the loss of 39 percent of Alberta’s parks and removal of the protections to conservation values and quality of recreation experience that are provided through a parks designation.

AWA Letter of Opposition to the Sale of Public Lands in Taber

Following the Alberta government's decision to sell a quarter section of public land near Taber, the Alberta Wilderness Association has published their responsestating that

The level of public engagement in the management of public lands has been an AWA concern for more than 50 years, and we believe that this proposed sale of public land in Taber illustrates the deficiencies within the current management framework that provide no transparency, hinder public participation, and enable an unacceptable standard for monitoring and managing public lands.

Read the full letter on the AWA website

CPAWS Statement on Alberta Parks Closures and Privatization

For over 50 years CPAWS Southern and Northern Alberta chapters have been collaborating with industry, government, Indigenous partners, communities, and like-minded organizations to protect our invaluable parks and wilderness areas and connect Albertans to nature through sustainable outdoor recreation. We are very concerned with the recent announcement from the Government of Alberta on a drastic change to our parks and recreation areas.

Government Plans to Remove 164 Sites from Parks System

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Tolman Bridge Campground

Tolman Bridge Campground (pictured), one of the 20 sites that the Government is proposing to fully or partially close. Photo © Alberta Wilderness Association

The provincial government has announced a plan to remove 164 of 473 sites from the Alberta Parks system, including 19 Provincial Parks and Natural Areas, in addition to a full or partial closure of 20 sites. AWA has serious concern with the removal of sites from the parks system due to the important recreational and ecological values these areas provide; this decision will almost certainly mean their protected area status will be threatened.

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