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Alberta announces partnerships for 170 parks

But they didn’t say what will happen to the 72 parks previously labelled for closure or delisting that didn’t get a partnership.

Earlier this week, the provincial government announced that they had secured or maintained partnerships for 170 parks and public recreation area sites.

At one point, the announcement claimed that no parks will be delisted:

No sites included under the Budget 2020 optimization plan will be delisted. All will remain open and accessible to Albertans. All will retain their current designations and associated protections.

Their announcement included a link to a list of 170 partnership parks, despite the fact that the original Optimizing Alberta Parks document had 179 parks listed either to be partially or fully closed, removed from the park system, or both.

So it’s kind of weird to say that they had “secured or maintained partnerships for 170 parks and public recreation area sites” and that “no sites included under the Budget 2020 optimization plan will be delisted”, when—at least superficially—9 parks were unaccounted for.

I decided to compared the new list of partnership parks with the list of parks in the OAP document, which was released in March 2020, but has since been removed from the government’s website. (I’ve obtained a copy of the OAP document, which you can download from my website.)

Despite the provincial government claiming that 170 of the 179 parks previously labelled for delisting would no longer be delisted, I discovered that several parks in the OAP document were missing from the new partnership list.

The following 11 parks were among 20 parks listed in the OAP document under “partial/full site closure” but are missing from the the new partnership document.

  • Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area
  • Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area
  • Crow Lake Provincial Park
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park – Comfort Camping
  • Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park – Tolman Bridge Campgrounds
  • Engstrom Lake Provincial Recreation Area
  • Greene Valley Provincial Park
  • Kehiwin Provincial Recreation Area
  • Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation Area
  • Notikewin Provincial Park
  • Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area

In June 2020, Alberta Parks announced that they’d temporarily open 17 parks as a response to COVID-19. All but Dinosaur Provincial Park in the above list were among those 17 parks.

At some point between 22 October and 20 November, Alberta Parks removed the list of temporarily-opened 17 parks from their website. There was no indication left on the page regarding why they removed the 17 parks or whether they’re still temporarily open, and, as I said, they don’t appear in the new partnership list.

The following 61 parks were among the 164 parks listed in the OAP document under “sites proposed for partnership” but are missing from the new partnership document.

  • Big Berland Provincial Recreation Area
  • Big Elbow Provincial Recreation Area1
  • Bigelow Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
  • Bullshead Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
  • Chambers Creek Group Camp Provincial Recreation Area
  • Chisholm Provincial Recreation Area
  • Clifford E. Lee Natural Area
  • Coal Lake North Provincial Recreation Area
  • Cow Lake Natural Area
  • Crane Meadow Provincial Recreation Area
  • Dutch Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Elk Creek Fish Pond Provincial Recreation Area
  • Elk Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Eyrie Gap Provincial Recreation Area
  • Fawcett Lake Provincial Recreation Area
  • Gooseberry Provincial Recreation Area – Elbow Valley Visitor Centre
  • Greene Valley Provincial Park
  • Gunn Provincial Recreation Area
  • Heart River Dam Provincial Recreation Area
  • Highwood Compound Provincial Recreation Area
  • Highwood Junction Provincial Recreation Area
  • Highwood River Natural Area
  • Honeymoon Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Island Lake Provincial Recreation Area
  • Jumpingpound Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Kinbrook Island Provincial Park
  • Little Smoky River Provincial Recreation Area
  • Little Sundance Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Livingstone Falls Provincial Recreation Area
  • Lundbreck Falls Provincial Recreation Area
  • Maycroft Provincial Recreation Area
  • Michelle Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
  • Mitchell Lake Provincial Recreation Area
  • Muriel Lake Provincial Recreation Area
  • Newbrook Provincial Recreation Area
  • North Bruderheim Provincial Recreation Area
  • North Ram River Provincial Recreation Area
  • Northwest of Bruderheim Natural Area
  • O’Brien Provincial Park
  • Oldman Dam Provincial Recreation Area
  • Oldman River North Provincial Recreation Area
  • Park Lake Provincial Park
  • Peace River Provincial Recreation Area
  • Prairie Creek Group Camp Provincial Recreation Area
  • Prairie Creek Provincial Recreation Area
  • Racehorse Provincial Recreation Area
  • Raven Provincial Recreation Area
  • Red Lodge Provincial Park
  • Sheep Creek Natural Area
  • South Ghost Provincial Recreation Area
  • Strachan Provincial Recreation Area
  • Strathcona Science Provincial Park
  • Tay River Provincial Recreation Area
  • Tillebrook Provincial Park
  • Waiparous Creek Group Camp Provincial Recreation Area
  • Waiparous Valley Viewpoint Provincial Recreation Area
  • Waterton Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area
  • Wildcat Island Natural Area
  • Wildhorse Provincial Recreation Area
  • Williamson Provincial Park
  • Wolf Creek Provincial Recreation Area

Parks italicized in the above list were labelled as “previously closed” in the OAP document.

Little Sundance Creek Provincial Recreation Area also wasn’t on the new list, but there was a park called “Sundance” on the new list, which hadn’t been on the OAP list.

That being said, the new list also contained names of 64 parks that never appeared on the OAP list.

  • Beaverhill Natural Area
  • Blackstone
  • Blue Rapids
  • Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park
  • Bragg Creek
  • Brown-Lowery
  • Canmore Nordic Centre
  • Chinook
  • Cobble Flats
  • Cooking Lake-Blackfoot
  • Crescent Falls
  • Cypress Hills
  • Eagle Point
  • Elbow Falls
  • Elbow River
  • Elbow River Launch
  • Elbow Sheep
  • Evan-Thomas
  • Fickle Lake
  • Fish Creek
  • Fish Lake
  • French Bay
  • Glenbow Ranch
  • Gregoire Lake
  • Hangingstone
  • Ing’s Mine
  • Kootenay Plains
  • Lake McGregor
  • Lesser Slave Lake
  • Little Bow
  • Little Elbow
  • Machesis Lake
  • Maqua Lake
  • McLean Creek
  • Medicine Lake
  • Minnow Lake
  • North Buck Lake
  • Obed Lake
  • Ole’s Lake
  • Payne Lake
  • Peter Lougheed
  • Pierre Grey’s Lakes
  • Poacher’s Landing
  • Police Outpost
  • Rock Lake
  • Sheep River
  • Snow Creek
  • Solomon Creek Wildland Provincial Park (Rock Lake)
  • Spray Valley
  • St. Mary Reservoir
  • Sundance
  • Thompson Creek
  • Thunder Lake
  • Vermilion
  • Wabamun Lake
  • Wagner Natural Area
  • Waskahigan River
  • West Bragg Creek
  • Whitehorse Wildland Provincial Park
  • William A. Switzer
  • Willmore Wilderness Park
  • Winagami Lake
  • Woolford
  • Wyndham-Carseland

So, I mean, if you look at just numbers, it sort of works out: at least 61 parks (but as many as 72) still listed as partially closed, fully closed, or delisted, but 64 new parks added to the partnership list.

So, now I’m left wondering. If the government claims that “no sites included under the Budget 2020 optimization plan will be delisted”, what happens to the 72 closed or delisted parks that still don’t seem to have managing partners?

Does this mean the province will no longer close or delist any of these parks? Will they be running these 72 parks themselves?

If so, then I’m glad Park Lake won’t be closing. That’s where my family and I have camped the most.

On a related note, check out this thread from CBC reporter Robson Fletcher regarding the recent UCP claim that “it was never the plan to delist parks”:

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 4 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I am a political economy student at the University of Athabasca, working on my second undergrad degree.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

7 replies on “Alberta announces partnerships for 170 parks”

I would also like to know how these partnerships were made. I signed up for their distribution list when this was first announced as I was interested in managing some of the sites that are near and dear to me. I have never once received information from the government regarding a partnership or search for partnership. Several things do not sit right with me and yet again feels like the UCP is playing games.

I expect that some will be Off Highway user clubs for a few sites. If I had to guess where: Probably some of the prov rec area type of parks right beside the proposed provincial Bighorn Parks by NDP that the OHVrs organized against and got Nixon’s support for. so more guessing by me: Nixon is holding the list back in part not to reveal the OHVrs, and revealing the new partners would draw more attention to the misleading nature of the news release that didn’t make it clear the lists don’t match as you point out, and… to get 170 total partnerships they mostly used existing partnerships, as in ‘maintained partnerships’. Most of the radio coverage was sucessfully manipulated by the UCP the day of the release, as you may be aware… UCP spokespersons were not available… so radio ran with ‘they found 170 partners’ so SAVED!!!! Pure disinforming spin.

if a conservative doesn’t like it
they will de-fund it or over charge for it
then as it declines they will assess it isn’t wanted
and privatize it
overcharging works for some of these i have seen
the other original sin i see being committed by some areas
is existing on a shiny new coal mine or mine access road

that accounts for these mias’
Honeymoon Creek Provincial Recreation Area
Highwood Junction Provincial Recreation Area
Maycroft Provincial Recreation Area
Livingstone Falls Provincial Recreation Area
Dutch Creek Provincial Recreation Area
Racehorse Provincial Recreation Area

i expect more clarity on others as coal leases are signed

yep….merry Christmas morning ….and all i got is coal for Christmas

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