Cataract Creek Provincial Recreation Area - Kananaskis Country
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Our Visitors

We try to understand visitor needs and interests to help us plan facilities and develop services. The statistics used in this section are from

We also conduct research and support others' research in parks in other social science areas, natural sciences and best practices.

*For more recent numbers, read the 2011 Camper Satisfaction Survey Provincial Summary Report.

Visitation Numbers

  • Every year, we collect statistics on visitation to Alberta's parks. 
  • 8.5 million visits per year
    • 7 million day use visits
    • 1.5 million camping visits of at least one night
  • For more information on annual visitation statistics, please contact Roy Finzel at or 780-427-5818. 


  • 93% of campers in Alberta's parks are from Alberta.¹
  • 4.7% of campers are from British Columbia, with just over 2% coming from elsewhere in Canada.¹ 
  • Less than 1% of campers are from outside Canada.¹
  • The average camping party size is 3.1 campers.¹
  • 69% of visitors travel with their family; 23% travel with friends.  
  • Albertans with higher education and higher incomes are more likely to use provincial parks.²

Park Usage 

Usage Levels

  • According to the 2008 Alberta Recreation Survey
    • 88% of Albertans have visited a provincial park at some point.³
    • 77% had visited a provincial park in the last three years.³
  • According to the Survey of Albertans' Priorities for Provincial Parks Report (2008), more than 40% of Albertans have visited in a provincial park in the past three years.
  • According to the 2011 "Survey of Albertans" research findings, 32% of Albertans visited a provincial park in the past year.

Increases & Decreases

The Survey of Albertans' Priorities for Provincial Parks Report (2008) notes that:

  • One third of provincial park users increased their use of parks in the past 5 years.
    • Most common reasons for increased park use: children getting older and more leisure time/opportunity (i.e. retiremed people).
  • 20% of provincial park users decreased their use of parks in the past 5 years.
    • Most common reasons for decreased park use: having young children and poor health/loss of mobility.
    • Park visits decline with age, particularly after the age of 75.


According to the 2008 Alberta Recreation Survey, the reasons people don't visit provincial parks are (in order of importance):

  • preference for other forms of recreation;
  • preference for other parks or recreation areas;
  • parks are too far away; and
  • barriers related to physical abilities, cost, equipment and knowledge.

According to Survey of Albertans' Priorities for Provincial Parks Report (2008), people don't visit Alberta's parks because:

  • 40% use other parks or recreations areas - national, municipal, private, other provinces;
  • 30% are not interested in using parks;
  • 24% cite barriers preventing their use of parks; and
  • 8% say they don't visit parks due to lack of opportunity (access, cost, travel distance, crowdedness).


  • Most visits are planned, not spontaneous.¹
  • The park is usually the main destination, not a stopover on a trip.¹
  • Visitors' most important reasons for choosing to visit a park: nature appreciation; being with friends and family; relaxation; wilderness setting; and safety and security.²
  • Over one third of campers are first-time visitors to a park.¹ 
  • Most visitors have been to the same park repeatedly.¹
  • Most campers say they would return to the same campground again.¹
  • The average length of stay is 3 nights.
  • The most frequent activities done in provincial parks are photography, wildlife viewing, picnicking and day hiking.²