Forests and Biodiversity

A 40-year step backwards for Alberta's parks

Thirty-eight years ago almost to the day, Alberta moved to preserve three great swaths of unspoiled wilderness on the eastern boundaries of the Rocky Mountains.

The Ghost River, White Goat, and Siffleur Wilderness Areas had already been established a decade earlier by the government of Premier Ernest Manning. But it was the government of Premier Peter Lougheed that enshrined their preservation in The Wilderness Areas Amendment Act of 1972, providing in legislation the highest level of protection available in Alberta.

Allan Warrack was Lougheed's minister of lands and forests, and here's how he explained it on Nov. 22, 1972, when he moved third reading of Bill 93, as the Wilderness Areas Amendment Act was known before passed into law:

Read the entire article at the link below.

Bill threatens to dismantle provincial park system: critics

ALBERTA—A storm is brewing in the Alberta Legislature over a bill critics say will overhaul and even dismantle the classifications designed to protect the province's parkland.

Conservative MLA and Minister of Parks, Recreation and Tourism defends Bill 29, The Alberta Parks Act—which divides nearly 500 sites in the Alberta Park system into two classifications, "provincial parks" and "heritage rangelands"—contending the intent of the new legislation is to protect Alberta's unique ecosystems while ensuring recreation opportunities for Albertans.

"Bill 29, the Alberta Parks Act, reaffirms that parks will remain a key tool in ensuring that our province's unique natural heritage will continue to be protected while also providing Albertans with access to ample outdoor recreation opportunities," said Ady.... Read more »

Is Tar Sands Development Driving Weaker Parks Legislation?

Albertans have been struggling to understand the reasoning behind Bill 29, the Alberta Parks Act, which is proposing to substantially weaken protection of Alberta's network of provincial parks and protected areas. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) believes that tar sands development is a key driver for the Government of Alberta to pass Bill 29 as swiftly as possible.

The Alberta government has proposed to establish new undefined Conservation Areas for the Lower Athabasca land‐use region. A weakening of protected areas legislation through Bill 29 would allow the government to call these areas Provincial Parks, which sounds impressive, but then zone them for the intensive depletion and destruction of forests, wetlands and water from oilsands development, thus making them meaningless for wildlife protection.... Read more »


Edmonton, AB, 17 November 2010 – ”It’s an unfortunate and reversible trend,” says Jason Unger, Staff Counsel at the Environmental Law Centre in Edmonton. “We have legislation now that sets specific prohibitions in some of our protected areas and Bill 29 will nullify that.” The Bill makes protected areas, most notably ecological reserves and wilderness areas, into Provincial Parks and relies on zoning to govern activities in the parks. Zoning is dealt with completely in regulations. The creation of regulations typically occurs in the black box of government and is not debated in the legislature.... Read more »

Update 17 Nov 2010

Bill 29 was debated in 2nd Reading on Wednesday evening until 10:30 when debate was adjourned.
The government voted down two motions by the Opposition to change the process for review of Bill 29.
... Read more »

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