In August 2010, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation (TPR) proposed adding approximately 164 hectares of public land to Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area (PRA), near Nordegg. The expansion would enable nearby trails, wetlands and Frontier Lodge leased lands to be included within the park boundary. Feedback was gathered during a 60-day online public comment period, which ended October 13, 2010. All comments were taken into consideration before a final decision was made. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback.
What We Heard
Of the responses received during the consultation period, more than 95 per cent indicated support for the proposal to add lands to Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area. The following concerns were heard:
Recreational use expansion:
Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation's proposal stated that "the expanded area would be considered for future campground and recreational use expansion". We received questions on what this statement meant, and concerns that increased motorized use and intensive recreational development were planned for the area. Some respondents commented that they supported the development of additional recreational facilities, including a new campground and new trails, while others indicated that they did not want to see the park over-developed.
- The use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) is prohibited in provincial recreation areas, except on designated trails. TPR is not planning on expanding OHV use in the expanded area of Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area.
- One existing disturbed trail, which is currently used by OHVs, exists in the expanded area of Fish Lake PRA. This existing trail provides access to motorized recreation trails outside of the PRA. Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation may consider designating this trail for OHV use and hardening it off.
- Sections of the additional land may be considered for the development of non-motorized trails and a new campground should there be a public demand for increased recreational opportunities in the future.
- Prior to making a decision on any new campground development outside the footprint of the existing campground, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation would consult with the public on the proposal.
Protection of ecological values:
We heard concerns that the proposal was driven by recreation considerations, and did not mention the enhanced protection of ecological values, or indicate how these ecological values would be protected.
- Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation recognizes the ecological value of the lands that are proposed to be added to Fish Lake PRA. Much of these lands were previously under Protective Notation (a reservation placed on a piece of land that allows the province to restrict certain land uses and to identify management guidelines in order to achieve conservation objectives).
- The expansion of Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area will allow greater protection for adjacent lands from industrial activity and motorized recreational activity.
- Prior to any development of new recreational activities, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation will complete an Environmental Review to ensure that ecological values are protected and that any potential impacts of development are avoided or mitigated.
- Order-in-Council 9/2011 was passed by Cabinet on February 3, 2011 to add approximately 164 hectares of new lands to Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area. The expansion has increased the size of Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area by sixty per cent.
*Disclaimer: We thank you for providing your input. Those who submit feedback will not be contacted individually regarding their submission.