Reader: ‘I didn’t vote for closing and removing parks’

Reader: ‘I didn’t vote for closing and removing parks’

Dear editor,

I have been reviewing the government plan to close and/or remove 184 parks from the Alberta Parks System. Most are on lakes or beside rivers with several in rural areas. They have many amenities — camping, fishing, canoeing, bird watching, hiking, etc. In reviewing the UCP election platform, priority one is getting Albertans back to work. One strategy is job creation in Alberta’s tourism sector including development of a 10-year tourism plan. I could not find any mention of closing and/or removing parks. So I ask, where is the data that was used to justify the closing and/or removal of 184 parks? Alberta taxpayers have a right to know. It looks like rural Albertans are especially being denied access.

With what is happening with COVID-19 and people staying close to home, why is the government not supporting our parks for local employment and ways for local people to have some reprieve from the social and mental isolation? Borders are closed to international tourism and limited for provincial tourism. Seems to me, we should be doing what we can to promote local tourism and actually “travel Alberta” — get to know and support our neighbors and their local economies. A survey done by Leger research in March 2020 found that 70 per cent of urban, 68 per cent of suburban and 68 per cent of rural folks somewhat/strongly opposed the removal of the parks.

We normally stay at campgrounds but in May we did a “random camp” close to Peppers Lake west of Rocky Mountain House. We found a spot that had several camp fire pits, garbage, broken plastic toys, ripped up grass that looked like a disc had been taken to it but really was likely done by a truck, and human waste in the trees so we had to cover that with rocks so our dog did not get into it. Is this what we have to look forward to now with the closing and removal of parks?

I did not vote for closing and removing parks! It will only save the government $1.14 per Albertan!

Barb Olsen

Ponoka County