On May 15th, Alberta Parks announced the largest addition to the province's park system in history. The province will be adding four new provincial parks in the north, creating the world's largest contiguous protected Boreal forest.
The expansion includes 6.7 million hectares of forrest, and will build onto Wood Buffalo National Park, just north of Fort McMurray.
The pre-existing Birch Mountains park will be expanded, and new provincial parks called Kazan, Richardson, Dillon River, and Birch River Wildland will be added to the map.
The map above was released by Alberta Parks, and outlines how we can expect the new provincial parks to be laid out.
Maintaining strong communications with the Indigenous communities has been a key aspect of designing the layout of these new provincial parks, according to Environment Minister Shannon Phillips.
"What I heard was that people wanted the protected areas... but they wanted a voice in how those protected areas were managed, and they wanted to incorporate traditional land use and knowledge."
In working together with Indigenous communities, a unique relationship has been formed. The government is looking into creating an Indigenous Guardian Program, which could lead to the hiring of First Nations and Metis individuals to help not only monitor and maintain the new parks, but also educate and inform park patrons!
There isn't yet a set date for when we can expect these parks to open, but the Alberta Government and Indigenous communities are working hard to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.
If you'd like more information, click here to read the FAQ posted by Alberta Parks.
Source: Edmonton Sun