Public Input Period: Proposed Biodiversity Stewardship Area Wildland Provincial Park in the Lower Athabasca Region

Map of Proposed Biodiversity Stewardship Area Wildland Provincial Park in the Lower Athabasca Region
Initiative: 
Proposed Biodiversity Stewardship Area Wildland Provincial Park in the Lower Athabasca Region
Deadline: 
20 Jan 2019

From: Alberta Environment and Parks

Following months of collaborative discussions with Indigenous groups, industry and other stakeholders, the Government of Alberta is proposing to establish the Biodiversity Stewardship Area to be designated as a wildland provincial park (protected area). The proposed protected area is about 166,110 hectares located directly south of Wood Buffalo National Park. The designation would shift the current multiple-use area with existing forest and energy tenure into an area focused on the conservation of biodiversity.

From December 13, 2018 to January 20, 2019, government will be consulting with Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the public. At this time, we want to hear from all interested parties on the proposed protected area.

Management Intent of the Proposed Biodiversity Stewardship Area - Wildland Provincial Park

Wildland provincial parks are intended to conserve nature and associated cultural features in a relatively undisturbed state. They also support backcountry and remote nature-based recreation opportunities, dependent on their compatibility with conservation outcomes. 

The proposed protected area would increase protection of the Peace-Athabasca watershed. It would also increase connectivity between existing wildland provincial parks and the national park in the area, which is important to maintain ecological integrity and habitats for species at risk like woodland caribou.

The proposed protected area has been identified by Indigenous Peoples as having natural values and species, such as the Ronald Lake bison herd, that are important to support Indigenous People’s rights, culture and well-being. The exercise of Treaty rights and traditional uses in the area would be supported in the proposed protected area and cooperative management opportunities would be available to interested Indigenous communities.

Nature-based recreation opportunities would be focused on remote backcountry experiences where visitors can experience solitude, challenge and personal interaction with nature. Facilities will be limited to trails and rustic backcountry campsites. Nature-based ecotourism or adventure tourism opportunities could be supported.
 

Current and Proposed Permitted Activities

Activity Current Permitted Activities – Public Lands, Green Area Proposed Permitted Activities –
Wildland Provincial Park
Foot Access 
(hiking, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, etc.)
Yes Yes
Equestrian Use Yes Yes
Hunting Yes Yes
Fishing Yes Yes
Backcountry Camping Yes Yes
Off-highway Vehicle/Snowmobile Use Yes Yes – On designated trails
Trapping Yes Yes
Existing Petroleum and Natural Gas Commitments 
(Crown Owned)
Yes Yes
New Petroleum and Natural Gas 
(Crown Owned)
Yes Yes, but with no surface access
Fixed Roof Accommodation Yes Maybe – Non-auto access backcountry or fly-in lodges may be permitted if compatible with site values and objectives and restricted to backcountry facility zones 
Helicopter/Float Plane Landing Yes Maybe – A permit for landing is required.
Auto Access Camping Yes No
Large Scale Tourism Development Yes No
Commercial Forestry Yes No
Coal, Metallic and Industrial Minerals 
(Crown Owned)
Yes No

Management Intent of Biodiversity Stewardship Area-Wildland Provincial Park (BSA-WPP)

 Wildland provincial parks serve to protect and conserve natural heritage and provide opportunities for backcountry recreation compatible with the overall plan for the park. For information on the proposed permitted uses please see the table on the public website.

Proposals for the Biodiversity Stewardship Area-Wildland Provincial Park

Support Treaty Rights and Traditional Use

The BSA-WPP is proposed to help support the exercise of Treaty rights and traditional uses, and protection of Indigenous culture, well-being, and to conserve natural values and species in the area into the future. The proposed Wildland Provincial Park will allow for the exercise of Treaty rights and other traditional uses, including cultural activities, for First Nations, as well as harvesting activities for approved Metis harvesters.  

Conservation

This type of park is specifically established for the conservation of nature and associated cultural features with opportunities for backcountry or remote backcountry recreation and experiencing nature in a relatively undisturbed state. Wildland Provincial Parks protect large, ecologically healthy and functioning landscapes that are representative of Alberta’s natural diversity. Management of Wildland Provincial Parks is well suited to cooperative management approaches with local Indigenous communities. Cooperative management approach could include:

  • Maintaining and supporting Indigenous People’s constitutionally protected rights and traditional-use activities;
  • Protecting and preserving known traditional use sites, cultural areas and historic resources;
  • Exploring economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples through employment with the Government of Alberta; and
  • Potential Indigenous Guardian Program opportunities

Recreation

The park would maintain its rustic, undeveloped character and continue to permit high quality backcountry experiences. Recreation opportunities would focus on wilderness-oriented recreation experiences, hunting and fishing, and experiencing nature with few if any amenities. This experience would vary on whether visitors are accessing the north, west or south areas of the park.

Public Comment

The 30-day public input period is open until January 20, 2019.
Alberta Parks encourages and values your input on this project. Please click on the survey link below to provide your feedback. 

Online Survey

Email:  [email protected] 
Mail: Alberta Environment and Parks
2nd floor, Oxbridge Place
9820-106 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2J6

What Happens After Public Comment

A decision regarding the proposal will be made after the public consultation period ends and all comments have been considered. The resulting proposed action(s) will be posted online at www.albertaparks.ca/consult once a decision has been reached.

Media Inquiries

Alberta Environment and Parks
780-422-4905
[email protected] 
 

Further Information

Fact Sheet

Disclaimer: We thank you for providing your input. Those who submit feedback will not be contacted individually regarding their submission.