Castle Special Place - the headwaters for many Albertan's. Image: Stephen Legault
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Wendy Francis - Hiking

“We expect that Alberta’s land-use plans will reflect global standards for landscape protection. We need to approach planning at an ecosystem-wide scale, and create a network of new protected areas and management zones between them in order to maintain ecosystem services -- like clean water and flood and drought control -- and with room for wildlife to roam.” 
Wendy Francis
Y2Y Acting President

Alberta Headwaters

Alberta Headwaters
Photo: Alan Ernst
Y2Y is working to ensure greater protection for Alberta’s headwaters.

Y2Y is working to ensure greater protection for Alberta’s headwaters.

January 20, 2017

Castle Protection Edges Alberta Closer to Conservation Milestone

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) are praising the formal designation of the Castle Wildland and Provincial Parks by Premier Notley, Minister Phillips and Minister Miranda today.

“It’s been a long time since Alberta made a concerted effort to protect nature,” says Katie Morrison, conservation director with the Southern Alberta Chapter of CPAWS. “We hope that today’s announcement by the Premier signals a renewed focus on parks and protected areas across the province.”

The Castle Parks were announced on Sept. 4, 2015 and passed through order-in-council this week. The Castle, located in southwestern Alberta, is at the heart of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, and a flagship landscape in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

“There are many places across Alberta that are long overdue for conservation,” says Stephen Legault, program director for the Crown, Alberta and Northwest Territories for Y2Y. “Much-loved regions such as Kananaskis Country, where Calgary’s water comes from, and the Bighorn area, where Edmonton gets its water, are in need of more protection.”

Legault notes that other areas in the Oldman, Bow and North Saskatchewan watersheds are also at risk.

Both groups applaud the decision to phase out off highway vehicle (OHV) use from the Castle Wildland and Provincial Parks and expand protection for the region’s headwaters, saying it sets a new direction for protected areas in Alberta.

“The decision to phase out OHV use from the Castle parks reinforces that protected areas are places for nature conservation and quiet recreation,” says Morrison, “Alberta has made it clear that it takes seriously the effort to protect places for grizzly bears, westslope cutthroat trout and the clean clear water that flows out of the Castle.”

“For the first time in decades we can anticipate a time when the Castle will be free of both logging and motorized recreation. We’ll continue to encourage the government to speed up the phase out of OHV’s in the Castle,” says Legault. “If you compare where we are with just 18 months ago this signals significant momentum towards conservation.”

“Alberta has committed to achieving the international milestone of protecting 17 per cent of its landscapes by 2020,” says Morrison. “There’s still important work to be done. We hope to work with Albertans and the government to achieve this important goal for protecting nature.”  

“Albertans support the creation of new parks to protect our headwaters and to create jobs and stimulate new business opportunities,” says Legault. “We’re glad that Premier Notley is showing real leadership and that her government takes the protection of nature seriously.”



Take Action

1. Celebrate this decision with Premier Notley and Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips. Let them know Alberta’s headwaters matter to you and congratulate them on this announcement. You can: 

2. Add your voice to the consultation on the Castle Parks Management Plan;

3. Sign up for news alerts about this issue from Y2Y

4. Follow the campaign on social media:

• Facebook: @HeadwatersAB, Love Your Headwaters

• Twitter: @Headwaters_AB, #loveyourheadwaters

• Instagram: @loveyourheadwaters, #loveyourheadwaters

Donate: Make a donation to help support our work to protect Alberta’s Headwaters. See how we use your donation dollars.

Add Your Voice: Sign up to receive our Action Alerts and be alerted tofind out about opportunities to provide your input.


Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - North

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - Southern Alberta Chapters

Alberta Wilderness Association

Related Information:

Protected Areas & Public Lands

Central Canadian Rocky Mountains

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