Counting Protected Areas

The SAPAA site has three broad structures: Administration, Protected Area Visits and the site pages themselves. These last pages cover an important, but often over looked, subset of Alberta’s Protected Areas.

SAPAA's Protected Areas of Interest relative to count of all provincially managed Protected Areas
SAPAA’s Protected Areas of Interest are in colour. Grey sections represent other provincially managed Protected Areas.

PDF to Webpage

Over the past six+ months, SAPAA has been creating individual webpages for the SAPAA-relevant Protected Areas (PA) with 25% of all PAs converted to date. What is being converted? More than ten years ago, a volunteer generated hundreds of pdf files for each of the PAs. A labour of love, each file provides critical information about the respective sites.

268, 273, 483; How Many PAs?

273 individual files covered Natural (NA), Wilderness (WA) Areas, Heritage Rangelands, and Ecological Reserves. The Government of Alberta’s Land Reference Manual (LRM) lists 483 sites. This number includes the above 273 (with exceptions noted below) in addition to other areas which SAPAA traditionally does not include in its counts such as provincial parks.

This ‘PA Accounting’ is detailed in the following table and the above graphic. The LRM does not list Protective and Consultative Notation NA (PNT and CNT). Five of the original Order in Council (OC) NA have disappeared along with one name change.

What happen to these five? Well good and bad news as discussed in the table notes. Two were incorporated into a nearby provincial park (good news). Two were incorporated into a Provincial Recreational Area (mostly bad news) and one was part of a land swap for industrial development (bad news).

SAPAA Protected Area Count, July 2022. From the GoA LRM and SAPAA sources.
SAPAA Protected Area Count, July 2022. From the GoA LRM and SAPAA sources.

Where are the PNT and CNTs in the LRM

By the way, if OC, PNT, WA and other acronyms are making your head spin, help is on the way via this handy reference from SAPAA’s Protected Areas webpage.

A key change between the data set used ten years ago and the current LRM are the exclusion of PNT and CNTs. They are still visible in other data sets but not on the LRM. This makes it more difficult to track these NAs but hopefully the completed SAPAA website will help.

One PNT that seems to have been de-listed without much fanfare is Manly Corner west of Edmonton. Now over-run with OHV tracks, this site has become a single purpose location with significant land erosion and disturbance. Although de-listed, it is still owned by the province per Parkland County landownership information.

Monitoring and Reporting

In the previous blog, a SAPAA’s Vision Star rests on Monitoring and Reporting. Manly Corner is a good case of a site ‘disappearing’ without having a systematic means of tracking its prior existence and subsequent loss. For the next blog, we will drill down into structure of a PA’s webpage and how each of them can help with SAPAA’s mission.

Do you have suggestions or comments? Drop us a line or leave a comment below.

1 thought on “Counting Protected Areas

  1. Pingback: Progress on Protected Area Pages | SAPAA

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