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Science & Research

We rely on evidence-based decision-making as a guiding principle (as identified in the Plan for Parks). Decisions informed by natural and social science (along with other sources of knowledge such as traditional knowledge) support healthy ecosystems, sustainable recreation and economic prosperity. We welcome scientific and research activities in Alberta's parks, as long as they are conducted with minimal risk to the environment and minimal disturbance to visitors.

All scientific and research activities conducted in Alberta's parks require a permit. Research must be in keeping with the direction set by our Science Strategy. Research should also contribute to one or more of our research priorities.

Our goal is to:

  • facilitate a growing volume of scientific effort; and
  • link research activities and outcomes with resource management decision-making as outlined in Parks Division Science Strategy.

How Science and Research Benefits Our Parks

The evolving social, economic and environmental values of Albertans have increased the need for innovative management approaches in parks. We require accurate information about parks, the values they protect and provide, and the activities they support. Gaining knowledge through science and research is integral to our continuous improvement in managing lands, infrastructure and visitor experiences. 

Alberta's parks also represent a tremendous diversity of social, economic and environmental values. We require an equally diverse portfolio of management scenarios to ensure that Albertans realize maximum long-term benefit from their investment in parks. Scientific knowledge provides the foundation for the development and implementation of adaptive management strategies that safeguard the natural diversity and cultural heritage of parks.

Value of Parks for the Scientific Community

Alberta's parks preserve landscapes, biodiversity, natural features, cultural history and outdoor experiences that represent our province. Currently, the parks system includes more than 470 sites, covering more than 27,500 square kilometres. These lands encompass all six of Alberta's natural regions. For these reasons, parks are invaluable natural laboratories for the natural sciences. Parks serve as:

  • local, regional and provincial reservoirs of biodiversity;
  • representative examples of Alberta's diverse landscapes and geologic history; and
  • reference sites from which to assess the effectiveness of management strategies applied to the broader landscape.

Not only are parks great conduits for the natural sciences, they are also special places where people of different ages, backgrounds and experiences gather to interact with nature and each other. Some park lands have been used in this manner for thousands of years. Today over 8.5 million visitors use the parks system annually. This provides economic benefit to local communities and a wide range of industries. The cultural and economic values of parks provide invaluable opportunities for geographers, social scientists and economists to carry out their social science research.

For More Information

Contact Dr. Joyce Gould, Parks Divison Science Coordinator.


Updated: May 9, 2016