Alberta Environment and Parks is seeking input from the public and stakeholders on the proposed reclassification and expansion of the Twin River Heritage Rangeland Natural Area (Twin River HRNA). Twin River HRNA is located in southern Alberta, approximately 10 km west of the Town of Milk River and currently protects over 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres) of grassland within the Milk River Ridge.
Through this proposal, the Government of Alberta would be fulfilling commitments made in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) to address the future status of the Twin River HRNA. More specifically, government is:
Twin River HRNA is located within the Milk River Ridge in southern Alberta. In 1999, the lands were designated under Parks’ legislation as a Natural Area, arising from the Special Places 2000 program. This initiative relied on local committees to identify and support nominations for new parks and protected areas in Alberta. Including the term Heritage Rangeland in the name of the Natural Area signaled government’s intent to re-designate the site under the Heritage Rangelands class once the legislation was in place.
The proposed expansion to more than 23,000 hectares would increase Alberta’s representation of protected grasslands, which is one of the most endangered terrestrial ecosystems on the planet. Grasslands are substantively under-represented in the parks and protected areas system. At present, only 1.3 per cent of Alberta’s grasslands falls under legal protection and meet the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s definition of a protected area.
The reclassification would also honour the original intent behind the establishment of the site. The designation provides a more appropriate legislative mechanism to manage and protect the area, and recognizes the importance of grazing in the Grasslands Natural Region.
During the public consultation phase of the SSRP, leaseholders approached government and asked that their grazing leases be included in Twin River HRNA. The proposed boundary amendment would add approximately 3,173 hectares (7,840 acres) of Crown land, providing stronger legal protection to the Grasslands Natural Region.
The 60-day public input period is now closed. Thank you for your feedback.
A decision regarding the proposal will be made after the public consultation period ends and all comments have been considered. The resulting proposed action(s) will be posted online at www.albertaparks.ca/consult once a decision has been reached.
Disclaimer: We thank you for providing your input. Those who submit feedback will not be contacted individually regarding their submission.