Albertans continue to stand up for parks that sit on the chopping block
Organizations fighting against the Alberta government's plan to remove almost 200 recreation areas say it will result in those lands becoming inaccessible to Albertans.
CALGARY -- Support for a grassroots movement to help protect hundreds of provincial park spaces in Alberta is growing, says representatives of the volunteer organization.
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) says since it launched its lawn sign campaign last month, more than 12,000 have been ordered by Albertans who are moved to protect the recreation areas that are being threatened with closure.
Other organizations involved in the campaign says it shows "incredible support from Albertans."
"To volunteer, to get a lawn sign or simply to tell us that they value their parks and don't want any to be removed from the Alberta Parks system," said Natalie Odd, executive director of the Alberta Environmental Network in a release.
Earlier this year, the Kenney government announced it was closing or partially closing 20 parks and removing another 164 from the parks system.
Officials said the recreation areas were identified following a review of its 473 sites.
The premier has said no parks will be sold and no parks are being sold, but opponents have said all bets are off once the 184 recreation areas are delisted because Crown land doesn't have the same protections.
"Removing protections for these areas and converting them to vacant public land will result in environmental degradation and it will fail to support the recreation needs of Albertans at a time when more and more people are turning to the outdoors to cope with the impacts of the pandemic," said Katie Morrison, CPAWS conservation director.
The UCP government, meanwhile, says Albertans will continue to be able to access the affected provincial recreation areas and promises no industrial development will take place on those lands.
In addition to the lawn signs, more than 18,000 letters have been sent to MLAs to push the government to roll back its decision.
All of the signs are paid for through donations that average approximately $21 per person.
Further details on the campaign and instructions on how to order your own sign can be found on the Defend Alberta Parks website.