Calgary

Alberta government commits $43M to upgrade provincial parks

The provincial government announced on Tuesday a plan to invest $43 million in Alberta’s parks, including almost half a million dollars for improvements at Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary.

Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society to get $480,000 grant

The Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society will receive $480,000, over three years, to expand its conservation work, visitor information and educational programming. (Carla Beynon/CBC)

The provincial government announced on Tuesday a plan to invest $43 million in Alberta's parks, including almost half a million dollars for improvements at Fish Creek Provincial Park in Calgary.

The money will be used to improve trails and pathways, as well as upgrade day-use areas and campgrounds across Alberta, said Premier Jason Kenney, who was in Calgary for the announcement.

"Alberta is blessed with some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in our country. That's why we are committed to making sure our parks remain accessible and beautiful for years to come with upgrades to the paths and facilities visitors rely on," he said.

"These projects will get Albertans back to work by creating hundreds of jobs when we need them most."

In Calgary, the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society will receive a grant of $480,000, over three years, to expand current conservation work, visitor information and educational programming.

The province said the grant is part of the government's plan to strengthen ties with non-profit groups and conservation societies to help maintain and protect Alberta parks and Crown land.

Richard Gotfried, MLA for Calgary-Fish Creek, praised the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society in a release, saying the group "has a track record of excellence in conservation, education and programming."

Other projects to be funded include:

  • $15,230,000 for Kananaskis region parks.
  • $7,208,000 for south region parks.
  • $7,195,500 for northeast region parks.
  • $4,475,000 for central region parks.
  • $2,435,000 for northwest region parks.
  • $6,156,000 for public lands across Alberta. 
  • $500,000 for accessibility projects.

Earlier this year, Environment Minister Jason Nixon said the United Conservative government plans to fully or partially close 20 provincial parks and hand off another 164 to third-party managers. Sites for which no manager can be found will lose park status and revert to general Crown land, which can be sold.

That plan has come under heavy criticism from conservation groups, and thousands have signed petitions and written letters in protest.

Nixon has said the plan is to save money, modernize parks and focus spending on the province's marquee natural areas.

In June, the province said it had temporarily postponed the closure of 17 parks and recreation sites to allow Albertans to continue to use them during the pandemic.

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