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Alberta offers exceptional outdoor recreation experiences for residents and visitors from around the world. Over the busy summer months, Albertans were able to enjoy a number of recently completed capital upgrades, including about 14 kilometres of new mountain biking trails in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, upgrades to the Matápiiksi (Hoodoo) Interpretive Trail in Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, a new viewing platform at Little Lake in Saskatoon Island Provincial Park and new equestrian camping areas in Castle Provincial Park and Sulphur Gates Provincial Recreation Area.
“Our provincial parks system benefits every Albertan while attracting visitors from around the world. I am proud to share that we had another successful summer camping and recreation season and we are beginning what will be a busy winter. At the end of the day, parks are for people – for people to explore, appreciate nature, learn and enjoy.”
More than 260,000 camping reservations were processed this year, resulting in more than 642,000 occupied camper nights across the province and an 85 per cent overall satisfaction rating from visitors.
This summer also saw the reopening of William Watson Lodge in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and Peaceful Valley Provincial Recreation Area and day lodge in central Alberta.
William Watson Lodge provides year-round, barrier-free wilderness lodging and experiences to persons with disabilities, people who are terminally ill, seniors and their families. Alberta’s government invested more than $6 million to bring the facility up to accessibility standards and to enhance visitor experiences. Similarly, Peaceful Valley provides immersive nature experiences and recreation opportunities to persons with disabilities, people who are terminally ill and seniors.
Over the past five years, the number of visitors to Alberta’s provincial parks has increased by more than 33 per cent.
The Alberta government offered a number of programs in parks across the province this year, including in Dinosaur Provincial Park, which ran more than 1,100 interpretive programs reaching more than 21,600 visitors. The Alberta government also reopened and operated the Sikome Aquatic Facility in Calgary, which consistently welcomed more than 1,300 people daily.
Protecting Alberta’s provincial parks and recreation areas is a priority for the Alberta government. Budget 2022 invested $75 million in operating expenses for Alberta Parks and an additional $34.4 million for upgrades to sites across the province.
Alberta’s provincial parks are a key part of the provincial economy, supporting opportunities and jobs in tourism and hospitality and drawing visitors to communities across the province.
- Alberta is home to more than 470 provincial parks and recreation areas.
- In 2022, Alberta Parks hired more than 450 seasonal staff to support visitors and ensure environmental sustainability.