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Alberta parks damaged by flood to be restored

Campgrounds, recreation trails, day-use areas and provincial park infrastructure damaged by the June flooding in southern Alberta will be rebuilt.

The worst flooding in Alberta’s history destroyed approximately 170 kilometres of pathways and recreation trails in provincial parks. More than 60 day-use areas were damaged as well as more than 50 campgrounds.

“Our provincial parks provide Albertans and visitors from around the world with opportunities to connect with nature, to be active, have fun and relax," says Dr. Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. "Restoring our provincial parks is an investment in our quality of life, in conserving our natural history and in our tourism industry.”

Kananaskis Country, which sustained the most extensive damage in its 35-year history, Fish Creek Provincial Park and other provincial parks will be restored through an $81-million investment over four years. “These government funds will go a long way to restoring flood damage to Kananaskis Country, which is one of Alberta’s and North America’s, crown jewels,” says Dan DeSantis with Kananaskis Improvement District. “Not only is Kananaskis a healthy getaway for Albertans, it’s a year-round tourist destination for guests from around the world.”

“Through our tours of the damaged areas of the park we have been able to hear first-hand how the devastation to this treasured area has affected our loyal park users, volunteers and members. We are now looking forward to sharing the good news of the funding to restore our provincial parks and to share our rebuilding successes along the way.” says Nic DeGama-Blanchet, Executive Director of Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society.

Work on initial repairs will continue this fall and winter to prevent further damage and to restore critical infrastructure. Major restoration work will begin in 2014-15. Amenities will reopen over the next several years as they are restored.

Other comments:

"After so many treasured parks areas were damaged in the June 2013 floods, it should be considered an important public mental health response to rebuild parks - these are, after all, sites of one of the best prescriptions for immediate and longer-term well-being and recovery.” - Sonya Jackubec, Co-researcher, Parks and Mental Well-being Study; Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health and Community Studies, Mount Royal University.

“Kananaskis Country is the place where millions of Albertans and visitors come each year to recreate, rejuvenate and rediscover the wonder in their world. It is the tonic to recover from their daily lives and the elixir that reenergizes their souls. The floods hurt K-Country like it hurt all Albertans, deep to the core, and restoring that loss helps us all recover.” - Derek Ryder, Co-Chair, Friends of Kananaskis Country.

Quick facts:

  • Visits to provincial parks
    • More than 8.5 million visits to Alberta parks annually
    • More than 2.5 million visits annually to the provincial parks and recreation areas in Kananaskis Country
    • More than 2 million visits annually to Fish Creek Provincial Park, Alberta’s busiest provincial park
    • More than 80,000 visits annually to Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park

Restoring provincial parks:

  • Kananaskis Country – approximately $60 million. Examples of flood recovery projects:
    • Restoring 51 day-use areas, 41 campgrounds and six trailheads
    • Restoring Peter Lougheed Visitor Information Centre (compromised by flood waters)
    • Rebuilding over 160 kilometres of multi-use recreation trails, including more than 65 trail bridges

  • Fish Creek Provincial Park – approximately $16 million. Examples of flood recovery projects:
    • Restoring the pathway system, including 15 bridges
    • Restoring five day-use areas
    • Restoring community access points along Fish Creek
    • Removal of numerous debris piles, some of which exceed three metres in height
  • Other areas – approximately $5 million. Examples of flood recovery projects:
    • Restoration of campgrounds and day-use areas at Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park and Oldman Dam Provincial Recreation Area

Visitors to Alberta Parks are reminded to obey signs and stay out of closed areas. Stay up-to-date with the progress on rebuilding Alberta Parks by visiting albertaparks.ca/FloodRecovery.

Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for.


Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation