Save Alberta’s Parks Now! You have Just Days to Act

Dianne Pachal of the Sierra Club Canada has advised us that there will be a debate today, November 15th, on Alberta’s Tourism, Parks & Recreation Minister’s proposed new parks act (Bill 29).  “It is THE worst conservation-related legislation we’ve seen anywhere in Canada in a generation,” she says.  “It could become law within the week unless enough people write now to stop it and open up consultation on it”.

If the proposed act passes, it will become the law in Alberta that protection is NOT the primary purpose within parks.  Alberta’s Wilderness Areas, Wildland Parks, Ecological Reserves and Natural Areas will be gone; turned into multi-purpose parks where the Minister of the day can approve tourism and recreation development in any park at any location, including off-road vehicle trails. The proposed new parks act also sets up the privatization of trails inside parks, including the charging of fees by non-government bodies that would get the authority to develop and run trails.

The Environmental Law Centre views the current Bill as inadequate to ensure that the ecological integrity of Alberta’s protected areas is preserved for future generations.  …Bill 29 removes substantive provisions related to protected areas and this reflects a significant step backwards in ensuring the preservation of Alberta’s natural heritage.

Take Action
Save Alberta’s Parks Now! is on Facebook. “Like” that page & suggest to friends to Save Alberta’s Parks from new laws to dismantle them!

Not on Facebook?  If you haven’t already sent a letter or passed on an Action Alert to your contacts go to the action page where you can read the complete Action Alert. Fill in the box, click and automatically send your letter to the Premier with a copy to the MLA representing the Official Opposition in the Legislature on this issue.

See also an Edmonton Journal news clip.

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4 comments… add one
  • Gillean Daffern Nov 18, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Hopefully, things will stay the same, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Just read pages 9 and 10 of the proposed act beginning at 8 (1). “Prior to designating and classifying any land as a Provincial Park or Heritage Rangeland, changing the area of a Provincial Park or Heritage Rangeland, specifying the park zones that apply to a Provincial Park [we’re all waiting on this one— what ARE the zones?] or changing the boundaries of a park zone in a provincial park, the Minister shall provide public notice of the proposal.”
    This all appears to be at the minister’s discretion.
    The minister must then give 60 day’s notice on the website of the Minister’s Department and in “any other manner the minister determines” before the date when the regulation comes into effect.
    I couldn’t find anything about public input re changes either before or after the changes are announced.

  • Dan Nov 18, 2010, 9:08 am

    With all due respect Alf, your post contains a number of inaccuracies. There are many parks in Alberta that allow ATV/OHV use (Bob Creek Wildland, Lakeland Povincial Park, most northern Wildland Parks.) while many parks do not. Changing the legislation will mean ATV use could be included in the management plan for any park.

    The purpose of the current parks system is to legislate and communicate appropriate use. With this gone, I think it is naiive to assume everything will stay the same. There is nothing in the Act that says everything will stay the same.

    With everything allowed, at the ministers discretion, you can bet the pressure to put a resort on every nice park lake, open up more trails to ATV use etc, will be intense. Good bye ecological reserves, conservation as a priority, hello Disneyland.

    The legislation is unecessary, Albertans are not asking for it, and it confuses, not simplifies things. Why do we want to call the White Goat Wilderness the same thing as a roadside recreation area?

    Albertans want more parks, not intensification of the parks we already have. Alberta does not seem to understand this.

  • Derek Ryder Nov 16, 2010, 9:58 pm

    Do we need to save the parks the same way we needed to stop Via Feratta on Yamnuska?

  • Alf Skrastins Nov 16, 2010, 12:26 am

    I would advise anyone interested in this issue to search out Bill 29 under the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and take the time to read it.
    Besides simplifying the whole mish-mash of disconnected acts covering the range of different park types the Alberta Parks Act clearly states the following:
    -All Parks included in any of the different legislation are now included in the Parks Act. No Park Land Will Be Lost.
    -All rules, regulations and restrictions that apply to current park lands will continue to apply in the same way to those same park lands. In other words, nothing changes on any park.
    -A system of zoning serves the purpose of identifying the range of protection and or recreational use on park lands.

    -There is nothing in Bill 29 that would permit off-highway vehicle trails in Parks. Existing rules & regulations remain and since there are no parks that permit OHV use, this won’t change.

    -The allows for “Delegated Authorities” to operate or maintain trails. An example of such an operating authority is the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association, which maintains, develops and grooms the Bragg Creek Trail system. I wouldn’t call that “privatization” of the trails.

    -I don’t see anything in Bill 29 that suggests the dismantling of our park system.

    Read Bill 29 for yourself.

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