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Your Park Stories

April 15, 2020

Photo © AWA FILES

Recently we asked if you could share your most treasured memories of the 164 sites being removed from Alberta’s Parks system. Your response blew us away!

We heard stories about first park experiences, family adventures, favourite birding locations, beloved trails, and unforgettable life lessons. You acknowledged the value of these places, not only to gather as a community or in seeking quiet space for reflection, but for their ecological significance – what they mean for migrating birds in need of a stopover, wandering grizzly bears, and as dark sky preserves.

Your stories, while unique to you, resonate with so many others who use and care about Alberta’s parks and protected areas. Thank you for sharing them.

Sheep Creek Provincial Recreation Area

Photo © AWA FILES

“I was born near Sheep Creek and my story is about seeing the Woodland Caribou migrating about 15 years ago… My mother and I were out for a drive to see this majestic area when we were lucky enough to see a herd of about 500 of these majestic animals grazing just inside the recreation area and many just outside, on a ranch that sponsors riding tours.”

“My 90 year old mother remarked that when she was a small child, she had seen hundreds of Trumpeter swans [there] at one time.”

Tillebrook Provincial Park

“This park is a little oasis of forest, bush, and shelter, and as such is a major staging area for songbirds, particularly warblers, in their migration in both spring and fall.”

“What makes Tillebrook so special is that it is one of very few such areas that exist in the middle of our extensive prairie, and thus is a rare opportunity for these birds to rest and recoup during their long flight.”

Bow Valley and Gooseberry Provincial Park Visitor Centres

Photo © AWA FILES

“We never skipped going into these information sites whenever headed further into the hills for camping or day hikes, any season of the year.”

“It was a tradition that we all looked over the brochures, displays, and trail reports. It was a competition as to who could find any new displays and provide the parks staff with more details on rocks, animals and birds than were presented, to my kids’ delight.

J.J. Collett Natural Area

“[J.J. Collett] has trails suitable for everyone from seniors to school groups and families and they appear to be used. Dedicated volunteers help maintain the area but they can’t do it all by themselves.”

Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area

Photo © AWA FILES

“We camped at Bleriot Ferry and found it to be a beautiful place with abundant wildlife. We saw 27 different species of birds in one afternoon, many of which were nesting in the area. The trees were full of warblers. There were birds on the river and on the fence lines. This is a significant bird areas and it is especially important to protect small passerine birds which are becoming increasingly infrequent.”

Little Fish Lake Provincial Park

“Fish Lake is a quiet, peaceful spot where you can camp, boat, photograph wilderness and just enjoy being alive – a mindset that is very important right now.”

Narrows Provincial Recreation Area

“The [Narrows] PRA lands are home to sensitive yellow lady slippers. Who will safeguard that ecologically sensitive area when it is removed from the parks and protected area system?”

We’re still looking for more stories! If you’ve spent time at one of the 164 sites being removed from the Alberta Parks system and want to share a memory with us, please send it to awa@abwild.ca.

It is my belief that Non-profit organizations like the Alberta Wilderness Association provide a clear framework that creates opportunities for Albertans to actively participate in the protection of their provinces resources.
- Chelsea Caswell, Student, University of Lethbridge
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