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National conservation group slams proposed Alberta parks act for “setting the clock back 40 years”

  • Published on Nov 15 2010 |
  • This article is tagged as: alberta

Calgary -- The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s national board of trustees is voicing outrage today at new legislation under discussion in the Alberta legislature this week that would fundamentally alter the province’s Parks Act.
“Alberta could become leader of a race to the bottom in weakening protection of Canada’s provincial parks and wilderness areas. It is unbelievable that a province with some of Canada’s most spectacular parks – the province’s crown jewels – is proposing a new parks act that doesn’t give priority to protecting their ecological integrity,” says Oliver Kent, CPAWS national president.

“In the very same week that we’re celebrating the birth of Banff, Canada’s first national park 125 years ago, the province is rolling back the clock on the standards for all of its provincial parks. This is the worst conservation legislation proposed in Canada in a lifetime,” says Kent.

At its meeting in Banff over the weekend, CPAWS board members from across Canada were briefed on the proposed Alberta legislation. The organization is now calling on the province to rewrite the legislation to bring it in line with the world-class standards for parks management set by the National Parks Act. “If the legislation is passed as written, it will open the door to a variety of recreational and development activities, such as massive resorts and logging that simply have no place in our iconic wilderness parks,” says Sarah Elmeligi, senior conservation planner for the CPAWS Southern Alberta chapter.

“No provinces in Canada should be weakening their parks legislation. In fact, many have a substantial ways to go to make improvements to ensure that our parks will be here for future generations – not just for people, but for all species. Alberta is completely headed in the wrong direction,” says Kent.

 “Our parks are an essential to our enjoyment of and connection to wilderness. But these places are also essential in maintaining healthy ecosystems – affecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate. Protecting these ecological goods and services is crucial for our health human communities,” adds Elmeligi.

“A new act for Alberta’s parks should enshrine ecological integrity as the first priority in their management, include Aboriginal peoples in parks and protected areas management in a manner consistent with Canada’s Constitution, and provide opportunities for recreational activities in parks and other protected recognize areas that have minimal impact on the landscape,” says Kent.

For interviews, contact:

Ellen Adelberg, cell (613) 292-2875
Sarah Elmelegi cell (403) 688-8641