Alberta wants to hand off management of 164 provincial parks to focus spending on ‘high-value areas’

The Alberta government wants to hand off management of 164 provincially run parks to outside groups.

The move was hinted at in Thursday’s budget and confirmed by a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Jason Nixon.

Jess Sinclair said the United Conservative government will begin looking for partners to run the parks in May.

Last week, Global News reached out to the province to find out why reservations had not yet been opened, as in recent years reservations for front-country campsites within Alberta Parks have opened during the first week of February.

At that time, Sinclair said the province has been “hard at work” gearing up for the upcoming camping season.

On Friday, Sinclair said the government is subsidizing a financially struggling parks system that needs to be modernized.

Budget documents say some provincial parks will in the future by run by everyone from municipalities and Indigenous groups to non-profit societies.

The documents say that will allow the province to focus its funding on “high-value areas.”

The government has budgeted for a slight decline in parks spending over the next three years.

— More to come…

— With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News

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