Alberta’s government is funding an ecological assessment and traditional land use study to kick off planning work for Big Island Provincial Park.

Provincial grants totalling $300,000 to the City of Edmonton and Enoch Cree Nation – whose traditional territory encompasses the site – will support studies along the North Saskatchewan River where Big Island Provincial Park will be established.

The studies will inform sustainable recreation opportunities for the future park while ensuring Indigenous rights are respected and sensitive habitat and wildlife are protected.

“Alberta’s government is committed to helping protect this beautiful section of the North Saskatchewan River Valley and enhancing recreation options in some of Edmonton’s most beautiful natural areas. We are pleased to partner with Enoch Cree Nation and the city to create an extraordinary park where Albertans can experience the joys of exploring the river valley for generations to come.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“I am so pleased to see that Alberta’s government is expanding Edmonton’s Ribbon of Green and linking more recreation opportunities in the city’s river valley. The Big Island area has long been a beautiful part of our city and I am looking forward to more Edmontonians and other Albertans being able to enjoy all it has to offer.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, and MLA for Edmonton-South West

Nipiy Pimatsowin means ‘water is life.’ The Big Island project represents protection and stewardship of the water and life that land gives all peoples in the capital region. This grant and partnership continues to drive reconcili-Action and help build bridges between other orders of government in the Treaty 6 Territory.”

Chief William (Billy) Morin, Enoch Cree Nation

“This announcement by the provincial government is a good first step in helping to establish an urban provincial park within Edmonton's boundaries – an idea the city and Enoch First Nation have long advocated for as an important act of reconciliation. An urban provincial park allows us to protect the beautiful Big Island area while also making the land more accessible to residents and visitors alike – thereby providing a promising opportunity to protect and share the history of this region. We're looking forward to working closely with the Enoch Cree Nation to further plan for this opportunity and appreciate the provincial government taking this important step in making this urban park a reality.”

Don Iveson, mayor, City of Edmonton

Helping develop Big Island Provincial Park is a platform commitment and a key part of the government’s common-sense conservation plan. The project also supports the government’s goal of supporting sustainable outdoor recreation under the Alberta Crown Land Vision.

History of Big Island

The area has a rich history: It is traditional territory of Indigenous Peoples. In the early 20th century, Big Island became a popular picnic destination with Edmontonians who visited the site by steamboat.

Quick facts

  • Big Island is a 68-hectare parcel of provincial Crown land along the North Saskatchewan River in southwest Edmonton.
  • The area contains abundant wildlife, mature balsam forest and ecologically important wetlands.
  • Currently, there is no public road access to Big Island.
  • In its platform, government committed up to $10 million to help establish the park.
  • Establishing Big Island will enable greater connectivity through the North Saskatchewan River Valley parks, which is Canada’s largest urban park.
  • The Big Island project is led by a tri-government partnership, which includes the Government of Alberta, Enoch Cree Nation and the City of Edmonton.
  • Provincial grant funding announced for planning and engagement is $300,000. This includes $189,000 for Enoch Cree Nation and $109,000 for the City of Edmonton.
  • The ecological assessment and traditional land use study will begin in 2021. Public and Indigenous consultation will occur in 2022. Park establishment is targeted for 2023.