In my previous post, I wrote about a recent camping trip, and included some links to help other Albertans take action against the privatization of public lands.
Around the same time I was writing this post, more and more information was coming out about how the initial story we had been told wasn't the whole story. And Albertans were getting a shittier deal than we initially suspected!
CPAWS has been doing great work around this topic, and I encourage you to explore their site. They have created a "to-do" list to take action, including a great email template for easy sending to Alberta's Minister of the Environment and Parks. You can find that list and template here. I took that template and made some adjustments this morning. Took me maybe 15 minutes all-in. And I didn't have to look up any email address!
This is what I wrote:
Dear Minister Nixon,
I do not support the removal of the provincial parks, recreation areas and natural areas from Alberta’s parks system or any of the associated closures, sales or transfers of infrastructure at these areas to third party managers. Alberta’s parks should remain publicly managed, open, and protected under the Provincial Parks Act. I am deeply concerned over the fate of parks and conservation in Alberta and urge you to take immediate action.
It is crucial that parks remain open and protected from resource extraction. I know that our province is traditionally obsessed with the jobs created by that resource extraction, but parks also provide much needed jobs in tourism, outdoor guiding, rural communities and more.
The inherent value of these parks goes farther than any quick dollar you could make from their sale, providing clean water to our communities, and protecting our beautiful and diverse fish and wildlife habitats
Albertans care about their parks. It seems as if everyone I know in the province right now is either coming home from a trip to a Park, or planning to take one in the next month. This is a gift our parents gave us, and one we can pass along to our children. My son is a teenager now, so making time to connect with him is rare. But we can always count on spending time in a park.
It is YOUR responsibility of Environment and Parks to PROTECT those things. Government protection and management of these spaces ensures their long-term survival, and allows all current and future Albertans to enjoy the benefits of tourism, outdoor recreation, and biodiversity.
Do not close, transfer the assets of, or delist Alberta's parks and recreation areas.
BUT Y'ALL, THAT AIN'T ALL!
I also wrote to my MLA, the rep for Edmonton-Strathcona and former Premier Ms. Rachel Notley! Here's how that email went:
Dear Ms. Notley,
Thank you so much for standing up to defend our Alberta Parks. I have so many fond memories in our local parks from my childhood, and my son's childhood. I shudder to imagine a day where those opportunities aren't available to people. If anything, we should be making our parks and recreation areas MORE accessible, especially to marginalized communities. Or giving these spaces back to the Indigenous people and First Nations who still call this land home.
It's safe to say that I don't always agree with the Alberta NDP on everything (it's weird to be a left-of-the-lefties in this province!), but I am ALWAYS grateful for your voice and your opposition to the current government. Thank you and take care, a Ritchie Resident
I think I link to a Sprawl article every few posts or so, but TBH they just do great independent journalism! Check out this article by Melanee Thomas: "Albertans love our parks - so why close them?"
I am 50/50 on most CBC reporting, but this article (also linked above) is terrrr-ific: "Documents reveal doubts on Alberta plans to close, deregulate parks".
I'm still digging into the "Don't Go Breaking My Parks" initiative started by the Alberta NDP, but at the very least I am going to sign up to get a sticker!
And finally, if you like reading reports, check out this link on the CPAWS site: "New Report Shows Parks and Protected Areas are Essential to Our Lives and Economies: Alberta Government Still Needs Convincing".