The Importance of the Protected Areas of Alberta

Dinosaur Provincial Park by R. Schneider
Dinosaur Provincial Park by R. Schneider

Alberta is a great place to live. It’s a big beautiful province full of all kinds of natural wonders. This is where we introduce you to the diversity of wildlife, and unique and interesting wild spaces, that are part of your Big Alberta Backyard. Here we explore the Provincial Parks and protected areas of Alberta and learn why they are so important.

Alberta is a province that consists of six major ecosystem types: Grassland, Parkland, Foothills, Boreal Forest, Rocky Mountains and Canadian Shield. Due to the diversity of ecosystems within the province, more than 60,000 species call Alberta home. This includes mammals, birds, plants, trees, insects, and many that are not visible to the human eye as they are microscopic. According to the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute only 4% of Alberta’s biodiversity has actually been discovered and named up to now so we still have a lot to learn about our province!

What we do know is that at least 1500 of our plant species and over a hundred of our animal species are at risk which means that there aren’t very many of them left in the ecosystems of our province. In the list of animals that are considered to be at risk are animals like the Northern leopard frog, the American white pelican, the great gray owl, the grizzly bear, and the bull trout. These are all important animals that make up the biodiversity in Alberta and they need safe places to live.

Alberta has over 400 protected areas which include Provincial Parks, Wilderness Areas, Natural Areas and Ecological Reserves. These places help to protect the wild species that live there as well as help to prevent disturbances that could cause a loss of their habitat (homes) that they need to survive. Many of the species mentioned above live within these protected areas and need a safe place to call home. Protected areas, like Provincial Parks, are also important for families and people from the communities of Alberta because these areas are kept wild and natural for us to enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, backcountry skiing, cross country skiing, and hiking, and are also used for educational and scientific purposes. We are thankful for our protected areas in our province but right now some of them may be at risk themselves.

If you and your family love to camp and fish and visit natural areas within the province of Alberta, especially during these unprecedented times where we can’t travel outside of our country, you have probably visited a protected area within Alberta before. These areas are special because they have specific rules that make it so the forests stay intact and the lakes stay healthy and the wildlife get to live undisturbed. There are some changes being talked about that may affect our protected areas in Alberta so to learn more about the protected areas of Alberta and the changes we may expect, visit these websites and see what you can do to help:

https://albertawilderness.ca/issues/wildlands/protected-areas/#parentHorizontalTab3

https://albertawilderness.ca/news-release-government-plans-to-remove-164-sites-from-parks-system/

https://cpawsnab.org/our-work-2/defend-alberta-parks/

https://www.iusealbertaparks.org/

Information gathered from:

https://www.abmi.ca/home/biodiversity/biodiversity-in-alberta.html

https://anpc.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Rare_Plants_in_Alberta_ANPC_2015.pdf

https://extranet.gov.ab.ca/env/wild-species-status/default.aspx

 

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