Changes to the Alberta Parks system will allow government to focus its energy on renowned signature destinations and examine opportunities for other groups to operate smaller parks and day-use areas.
Immediate changes that will occur in 2020:
•Twenty parks will have full or partial closures in 2020. Some of these will be full park closures, where the entire site will be closed to public access. Others will have partial closures, where either their campgrounds or specific facilities are closed to public access, with the remaining park areas open, but non-serviced.
Non-serviced means that services, such as garbage collection and grounds-keeping do not occur in the remaining accessible park areas.
•Shortened operating seasons (late opening and early closures) in some provincial campgrounds (check Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca or park-specific websites).
•Beginning fall 2020, there will be no groomed cross-country track setting in the three main areas traditionally groomed by government staff in the Kananaskis Region. These areas are: Peter Lougheed, Mt. Shark and Kananaskis Village area. Grooming will continue to occur at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Track-setting will continue to occur in the West Bragg Creek area, done by the West Bragg Creek Trails Association.
•Closures of Barrier Lake and Elbow Valley visitor information centres, and Dinosaur Provincial Park comfort camping.
•Service fee increases:
Increase of $3 on the base camping rate at most Alberta Parks campgrounds.
A $1 increase for each applicable service fee related to power, water, sewers and showers (where those services are provided).
A $1 increase to equestrian corral fees at backcountry sites Kananaskis Region.
A $10 increase for sites that were at the low end of the fee range charged for comfort camping and group camping. This will only affect those sites that were at the low end of the fee range. Please see group camping and comfort camping for details on costs.
•Where there are currently partnership agreements with facility operators or not-for-profit organizations, these are highly valued and will be maintained.
Sites proposed for partnerships
The government has assessed all 473 sites in the Alberta Parks system and identified 164 sites proposed for partnerships. These proposed changes account for less than one per cent of the Alberta Parks land base and would not impact protected areas managed for conservation.
Sites removed from the parks system would have their legal park designations removed, and could be open for alternate management approaches. This includes potential Park Partnerships. through sale or transfer to another entity such as a municipality, so that sites could continue to provide important economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Some of the sites could also stay open under a public lands management model or revert back to vacant public land.
•The 164 sites proposed for partnerships are mainly recreation-focused sites, and many are very small and under-utilized Provincial Recreation Areas. Work is underway to explore the feasibility of various alternate management approaches for each site.
•To learn more about future partnership opportunities, please visit Park Partnerships.