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UCP hands off provincial parks

Last Updated Feb 29, 2020 at 9:06 am MST

Alberta premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks after being sworn into office,in Edmonton on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Alberta has introduced a new climate plan for the province's big greenhouse gas emitters. Environment minister Jason Nixon says it will achieve what he calls similar emissions cuts to the old government's plan but at less cost to industry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – The Alberta Government wants to hand off the management of 164 provincially run parks to outside groups. A spokeswoman for Provincial Environment Minister Jason Nixon says the current parks system is struggling financially and needs to be modernized.

New Democrat Environment Critic Marlin Schmidt says looking at parks as a cost issue misses the point of having them.

“It is an outrage this way to look at the parks system. The Provincial Parks are Albertans’ natural heritage. We need to collectively care for these parks. It shouldn’t be seen as a cost subsidy.”

“It is how we preserve our natural heritage for future generations,” adds Schmidt.

The list of parks the province hopes to hand off to municipalities, non-profit groups or indigenous bands has not been released. Alberta currently manages 473 protected areas of various kinds.