The Castle area is one of the most biologically diverse areas in Alberta with over 200 rare or at-risk species, including wolverine, grizzly bear and westslope cutthroat trout. The area has a history of multiple uses including commercial forestry, grazing, oil and gas development, as well as tourism and recreational uses.
The Government of Alberta is committed to enhancing protection of the Castle Special Management Area. To achieve this, government consulted with Albertans from September 4 to October 5, 2015 on the proposed amendment to the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan to designate the Castle area under Parks’ legislation. The Government of Alberta proposed to:
The Government of Alberta is pleased to announce the official establishment of the Castle Provincial Park, and the expansion of the Castle Wildland Provincial Park. The establishment of these areas under Parks’ legislation will protect important fish and wildlife habitats, shared international wildlife populations and provide headwater protection. In addition, this will enhance the significant recreation and tourism potential of the area, contribute to the local economy, improve the quality of life of Albertans and continue to position Alberta as an international tourism destination.
Conservation of nature will be the primary objective of both parks. Biodiversity conservation, protection of headwaters and species at risk, and ecological connectivity will underscore management decisions. Indigenous Peoples’ rights, cultural values and traditional uses are of critical importance.
The Castle Provincial Park will be approximately 25,500 hectares in size, and includes the previous Lynx Creek Provincial Recreation Area (PRA), Castle Falls PRA, Castle River Bridge PRA, Syncline PRA and Beaver Mines PRA. The Provincial Park will offer a wide range opportunities to reconnect with nature through leisure, learning and recreation. Facilities and infrastructure will support a front-country experience.
The Castle Wildland Provincial Park will be approximately 80,000 hectares in size, and includes the most critical and sensitive areas for headwaters and wildlife, including major wildlife movement corridors for wide-ranging species such as grizzly bear, and habitat for threated species such as westslope cutthroat trout. The Wildland Provincial Park will provide for back-country and wilderness experiences where facilities will be limited to trails and backcountry campsites that minimize visitor impacts. There will be limited built infrastructure.
For further information about these parks, including allowable uses, please see the Frequently Asked Questions and associated maps.
A draft management plan for both the Castle Provincial Park and the Castle Wildland Provincial Park has been developed, and there are opportunities for public input into the draft plan.
Thousands of Albertans, Indigenous Peoples, municipalities and stakeholders shared their values of the Castle. All of the input has been reviewed and considered, and is summarized in a ‘What We Heard’ document.
Feedback included: the importance of conservation of the area for future generations; the importance of headwater protection; the desire for low-impact recreation and tourism; opportunities for limited or un-serviced camping in the area and non-motorized background camping; the need for better management and increased enforcement; off-highway vehicle use management; as well as integrating First Nation traditional ecological knowledge into land-use decisions.
The Government of Alberta has taken all feedback into consideration for the future state and management of this important landscape.
Disclaimer: We thank you for providing your input. Those who submit feedback will not be contacted individually regarding their submission.