Alberta Parks will be charging visitors to Kananaskis Country starting on June 1. The area, dubbed “Alberta’s mountain playground,” is west of Calgary and south of the Trans Canada about 20 minutes east of Canmore. There are a number of popular trails, crags, rivers and alpine climbs.
It will cost $90 per vehicle for the year, or $15 per day. It costs $140 per year for a family pass to all of Canada’s National Parks.
An article in The Globe and Mail by energy reporter Emma Graney, said, “The pass is part of a broader set of measures the province will announce Tuesday to protect the area, after a record five million visitors descended on the region last year. By comparison, Banff National Park next door sees, on average, about four million annual visitors.”
The article notes that social media posts from Kananaskis trails rose in 2020, along with illegal parking and backcountry rescues. Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon said the park exceeded its operational expense budget. He went on to say, “we continue to see a significant environmental strain on what is one of the most beautiful places in our province.”
Nixon said they’ll hire 20 new conservation officers and 50 new park employees, and the opening of a new emergency centre. He said, “Among those exempt from the fee will be low-income earners and First Nations people. Much like the system in place in Banff National Park, the fee will apply to anyone who uses park facilities.” That means that you can drive through without having to pay.
The provincial government sites the reason as being due to “environmental strain,” only a few months after allowing coal mining to go ahead in the nearby mountains.
Alberta’s February budget increased camping fees by $1 to $3 a night, and in April, they changed the Public Lands Act to allow a new, $30 annual pass to camp on public land on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, which is an increase of $30. Read the comments on the below post to see how Albertans feel about the new fee.