On March 2, the Government of Alberta released the Optimizing Alberta Parks strategy, an announcement that has understandably been met with a strong and often emotional response from the countless Albertans and visitors who value the recreation and outdoor experiences that parks offer.
Some of the significant changes to Alberta Parks for 2020 include:
- Full or partial closure of 20 facilities
- Removal of 164 of 473 facilities from Parks management and shifting to private partnership or other alternate management approaches
- Service fee increases and shortened operating seasons for campgrounds
- Closure of the Barrier Lake & Elbow Valley visitor centres
- (Winter 2020-21) Discontinuing ski track-setting in Peter Lougheed, Mt Shark and Kananaskis Village trails
The strategy also notes Alberta Parks’ desire to maintain highly-valued partnership agreements with facility operators or not-for-profit organizations.
As one of the above-mentioned not-for-profit organizations, the Friends of Kananaskis Country remain committed to our mission of building a community of volunteers and partners to maintain the ecological integrity and recreational use of Kananaskis Country by engaging in trail care, stewardship, education, and research.
Since 1996, we have worked closely with Alberta Parks and other land managers to provide volunteer opportunities and experiences that support our vision of a Kananaskis Country of exquisite natural and cultural landscapes enjoyed by present and future generations.
While there is some uncertainty on how the Optimizing Alberta Parks strategy will evolve in the coming months, the Friends of Kananaskis will continue to work with Alberta Parks to advance mutual goals that recognize the value of Kananaskis Country’s landscapes, recreation and tourism opportunities.
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