Parks, Politics and Participation : An evaluation of the parks planning policy process in Alberta, Canada

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Alberta’s parks play an important role in the wellbeing of the residents in the Province. They provide protection for vulnerable natural features, clean air and water on the one hand, and a place for all sorts of recreation on the other. Over the past decades however, this equilibrium is shifting. Increasing wealth and population growth means more people use increasingly higher impact forms of recreation, which present a potential threat to the parks. Without proper policies, legislation and management, parks might lose the exact reason they exist: their special and vulnerable natural values and richness. The government of Alberta acknowledged this problem and initiated an interactive process of creating a new guiding policy for the next ten years, in which the previous issues should be dealt with. In other words, the content of this policy and the outcomes of the interactive policy process are crucial for the subsistence and the quality of protected areas in Alberta. This research analyzes the policy and the policy process in order to understand the outcomes and to elaborate whether or not this process is likely to contribute to solving the problems above.
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