Alberta’s provincial parks will receive $54.2 million this year for improvements to campgrounds, new picnic tables and improved infrastructure.
The funding is part of a five-year, $239-million plan to revitalize and expand the provincial parks system after years of underfunding that left shelters, roads and sewers in poor condition.
“Albertans want more places to camp and hike with their families and better facilities and playgrounds when they get there. We’re investing so all Albertans can get out and enjoy our beautiful wild spaces.”
This year’s funding provides a major boost to parks infrastructure, with $29 million for major upgrades and repairs to roads and sewers, as well as campground buildings and amenities like picnic tables and fire pits. The funding will also support new inclusive features in five provincial parks, so Albertan families with limited mobility can enjoy a minimum of one-kilometre of trail.
Other funding will go to campsites, parking lots and day-use areas in regions with approved land-use frameworks. Kananaskis and other southern Alberta parks will get $10 million in upgrades, while $7.5 million will go to northeastern Alberta. The Kananaskis region will also receive $6.3 million to repair or replace infrastructure damaged in the 2013 floods.
The newly created Castle Provincial Park and Castle Provincial Wildland Park will receive $1 million for new day-use amenities.
Several projects are expected to open this summer, following the $38 million invested in 2016 – the first year of the government’s five-year revitalization plan. These new projects include an improved south campground at English Bay Provincial Recreation Area, new comfort cabins at Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park, new cabins at William Watson Lodge and a newly rehabilitated Gregoire Lake Provincial Park.
Regional projects for 2017-2018 include:
- Gregoire Lake Provincial Park – continued reconstruction
- Cold Lake Provincial Park – development of backcountry campsites
- Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park – new shower facilities
- Jarvis Bay Provincial Park – campground upgrades
- Fish Lake Provincial Park – campground upgrades and expansion
- William Watson Lodge – continued expansion and facility upgrades
- Fallen Timber South Provincial Recreation Area – OHV campground and trail access enhancement
- Little Bow Provincial Park – park redevelopment
- Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park – ski hill redevelopment and expansion