Willmore Wilderness Introduction
Rising to over 3,050 metres and covering more than 1 million acres, Willmore Wilderness Park stands as one of Alberta’s true wilderness areas virtually untouched by the hands of industry and development. Tucked away in the crook of Alberta’s elbow just south of Grande Cache, mountain ranges and running rivers transect this landscape, home to some of Alberta’s iconic species – the grizzly, the wolf and the caribou. Willmore also contains the drainage for the Smoky River, a major tributary of the Peace River that flows north to join the Mackenzie River system. Designated a park in 1959 by the provincial government, Willmore has seen little tourism and recreational development, leaving the area pristine for backcountry enthusiasts to explore. Traditional activities such as trail riding, hunting, and trapping are allowed in the park, continuing the rich heritage of Aboriginal peoples and early outfitters.
- The area was designated a Wilderness Provincial Park in 1959.
- In 1963 and 1965 the park was reduced in area to its current size.
- In 1965 it was renamed the Willmore Wilderness Park in memory of Norman Willmore, who, as Minister of Lands and Forests, promoted the creation of the Wilderness Park for the recreational enjoyment of Albertans.
- Backcountry recreation includes trail riding, hiking, and hunting along the approximately 750 km of trails.
- Presently, there is no formal management plan for the park.
- That the park remain an undeveloped backcountry wilderness area
- That a Management Plan be developed that holds true to wilderness, watershed, and wildlife values
- That the park be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site under an expanded nomination for the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.
“The broad basic problem is whether or not the Government should condone and encourage the industrialization of Alberta at the expense of the rivers, the air and the countryside of our Province through a lack of policy and foresight, or should we endeavour to promote industrialization in an orderly manner which will bring the greatest possible benefits to all the people in Alberta without necessitating the improper exploitation of our greatest natural resources – which are the air we breathe and the water and the soil.”
- Public address by Norman Willmore to the Edson community on February 25, 1955