Albertans with physical disabilities will have five new parks to enjoy with their families this summer, plus a new place to fish in the Castle parks next summer.
Five parks are being refurbished as part of a $3-million plan to create accessible experiences in 15 provincial parks by 2020. In addition, Alberta Parks will create a barrier-free fishing experience in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park in 2018.
The new sites represent all regions of the province:
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Bow Valley Provincial Park- Mount Lorette Pond
Pigeon Lake Provincial Park
Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park
Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park
The accessible fishing venue in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park will feature a boardwalk around Bathing Lake. Over the next four years, more than $20 million will go to access routes, inclusion projects, camping, signage, picnic areas and hiking trails in the Castle parks.
“Alberta’s parks are for everyone to enjoy. By improving accessibility in our parks, our government is helping more Albertans benefit from being out in the prairies, mountains and boreal landscapes.”
Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks
“Being immersed in nature for a day or a week can be a life-changing experience for persons isolated by four walls. I commend Alberta Parks for breaking down barriers facing one in every 10 Albertans.”
Ross Wein, President, Alberta Abilities Lodges Society
The 15 accessibility projects will be known as the Cecile Buhl One-Kilometre Experience, ensuring access of a minimum of one kilometre, along with parking and accessible washrooms. Buhl was an educator and an advocate for accessibility who volunteered on audits of Alberta provincial parks. She died in November 2016.
“As an Alberta Parks Ambassador, Cecile put her heart and her soul into making parks accessible for everyone. Nature was what Cecile lived for and that’s where she was happiest. That was her passion. She would be honoured by this recognition of her work.”
Lydia Buhl, Cecile’s mother
Alberta Parks continues to implement accessibility and inclusion in support of its “Everyone Belongs Outside” strategy.
The province will also begin construction this year on two additional replacement cabins at William Watson Lodge in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, scheduled to open in 2018. The $2.8-million project follows the completion of two other replacement cabins at the popular destination, which supports seniors and persons with mobility challenges.