Founded in Alberta, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) is proud to have worked on conservation issues in Alberta and western North America for more than 25 years.
Y2Y’s work represents the voices and hard work of thousands of people, conservation groups, governments and their agencies and more, to be sure the best land-use decisions are being made, for both people and wildlife.
We care deeply about our parks, wild spaces and conservation issues and over our history we have worked collaboratively with various governments to ensure the conservation of critical habitat that is important to all Albertans. Environmental issues and conservation should be non-partisan.
Like many Albertans, we were surprised by the announcement that the government decided it would be fully or partially closing parks and changing park designations and shared our concerns. This decision was made without consultation and sets a dangerous precedent for future changes to other protected areas in Alberta.
Many of the parks slated for closure or changes are located in the Yellowstone to Yukon region. Removing the parks designation opens up more opportunities for random camping but also for industrial development. What are the potential impacts to the environment? Will an increase in random camping require extra management? The risks to our headwaters, sensitive ecological areas and wildlife habitat are unclear.
With that in mind, we would ask the Minister of Environment and Parks to slow down this process. Now is the time to properly to consult with Albertans and recognize the economic benefit of preserving the beauty of Alberta and the diverse wildlife that travels through and lives in our region.
Albertans love our provincial parks. They are central to Alberta’s past, present and future. They are places meant to enjoy, make memories and create adventures to be treasured for years. These same experiences contribute to a diversified economy through sustainable recreation and tourism opportunities.
What we’re about is finding solutions to allow people to continue to responsibly access Alberta’s incredible environment, parks systems and land in a way that supports our ecosystems and the needs of wildlife, as well.
Now is the time to be increasing, not diminishing, parks and protected areas, both for our enjoyment today and for future generations of people and wildlife.
Header photo: Kelly Zenkewich