The Government of Alberta has partnered with the Government of Canada, the Tallcree First Nation, Syncrude and the Nature Conservancy of Canada on the conservation of more than 67,000 square kilometres of boreal forest. The protected area is approximately double the size of Vancouver Island.
The creation of the Kazan, Richardson and Birch River wildland provincial parks connects the federal government’s Wood Buffalo National Park to other existing wildland provincial parks. New and expanded widland provincial parks represent the largest addition to the Alberta Parks system in its history, and will constitute the largest contiguous protected boreal forest in the world under the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
"This historic achievement shows what can be accomplished when governments, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations work together," said Shannon Phillips, Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks in a news release.
As part of the process to create the new protected lands, Syncrude contributed $2.3 million to the Natural Conservancy of Canada, which in turn made a payment for a timber quota held by the Tallcree First Nation. This allowed the Government of Alberta to cancel the quota and facilitate the creation of Birch River Wildland Provincial Park.
The overall expansion helps protect key habitat for 68 species of conservation concern and three species at risk – wood bison, woodland caribou and the peregrine falcon. Read the Government of Alberta news release.