Image of Big Island (Courtesy of City of Edmonton)
We applaud the recent announcement indicating a commitment to establish Big Island as a new provincial park.
On March 26, 2021, the Government of Alberta announced a tri-partite agreement with the City of Edmonton and Enoch Cree First Nation to initiate an ecological assessment and traditional land-use study in the area. Big Island Provincial Park would conserve 68 hectares of provincial crown land in the North Saskatchewan River Valley of southwest Edmonton. We welcome this news of ongoing work toward the creation of an urban provincial park in the Edmonton Region.
Big Island is a fluvial island vegetated with balsam poplar providing habitat for wildlife such as ungulates and birds. Historically Big Island was an island, however nowadays it is attached to the river bank unless high water levels flood the back channels. It has an Indigenous presence with a history of multiple cultural-linguistic groups in the region. Land use of Big Island has included early-settlement era coal mining, logging, and riverboat picnics, and more recently cattle farming. The announcement of a new park agreement joins a series of conservation successes along this reach of the river. Since 2000, Sierra Club has advocated with others to halt a new gravel mine, protect a sand dune, and establish a new provincial park. More is work continues to build on and further enhance a larger network of conservation protection and enjoyment.
The commitment to conserve Big Island as a new Alberta provincial park is a welcome announcement and calls attention to many natural areas in need of conservation in the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Ravine system. We are proud of the work accomplished so far and will continue to advocate for the conservation of more areas so that future generations enjoy the benefits of this beautiful region.
To support our ongoing work for the protection of River Valley parks and natural areas in the Edmonton Region, please consider joining SCCF by buying a membership or making a commitment as a monthly donor. Annual memberships are offered for only $15 this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sierra Club Canada Foundation.
Alberta Environment and Parks Big Island: https://www.albertaparks.ca/albertaparksca/news-events/big-island-provincial-park/