By Letter to the Editor on June 12, 2020.
We write to express alarm and concern at the intention of our provincial government to partially close 20 provincial parks and to hand off management of 164 others to private interests.
We have camped several weeks each summer for the last 50 years with modest equipment in provincial parks across the Prairies. We are not well-to-do people and provincial parks have been our summer place to “be,” to recover from the stress of the rest of our year. Perhaps “five-star holidayers” will not miss the loss of provincial parks, but ordinary people will.
Each summer we see people enjoying nature, and families enjoying each other. We believe the provincial park system (and the camping experience) is an important key to mental health for many homes -an affordable holiday and chance to reconnect in relationship.
These parks are also a marvellous heritage. Once sold they cannot be recovered. In our experience the effectiveness of private interests managing these depends on the oversight of the provincial government in question. Will the UCP be vigilant and interested in these provincial parks? We suspect not.
We are astonished at the government’s action. Little rationale has been offered to the public – and no attempt at consultation. A resource of all Albertans is apparently to be shuffled off for a saving of $5 million or so. A better plan in an age of over consumption would be to expand the park system, improve its facilities and resources, and encourage future generations to continue camping.
Mary and Terry Shillington