Protected Area – Style Guide

The majority of the content on the SAPAA site concerns protected areas. While the general style guide provides direction for all pages (including protected areas), the following is specific content; it is divided into the following 6 sections:

  1. Overview and Land Descriptions.
  2. Areas of Interest to SAPAA.
  3. Description and Details for an Area.
  4. Content Suggestions
  5. Using a Map Block.
  6. File Management.
  7. Area Descriptions.

(Registered members login here) To log in, you must have a account and be invited to contribute to the site. To be invited, email:

Male Mountain Bluebird in Kootenay Plains (BFord)
Male Mountain Bluebird in Kootenay Plains (BFord)

Overview and Land Descriptions

These pages set the context for the uninitiated as to how public lands are owned and managed in Alberta. The intended audience is a motivated but uninitiated reader. Key messages of these pages include:

  • What are the types of protected areas in Alberta.
  • Who are the respective ‘owners’ of these lands.
  • Which types are of particular interest to SAPAA.

Specific areas are not included in these pages; the President owns this content.

Areas of Interest to SAPAA

This is a list of specific areas of interest to SAPAA. Each item is hyperlinked to the ‘Descriptions and Details’ pages and overview definitions are provided in the ‘Overview’ section.

The list may be static or dynamic. If the latter, filtering and sorting will be allowed along pre-defined categories such as region, size, ownership, etc. More information on how this list is managed is available from Content Management.

Area Template

The [AREA Template] is the primary source for standards and style guide information. This template copied and completed for each protected area being described. If there is a difference between this page and the template, the template is considered most relevant and current.

Description and Details for an Area

Each area of interest to SAPAA will have a dedicated page. If a Steward is named for the area, this individual(s) will be encouraged to contribute and maintain the page’s content. Typical page elements are as follows:

  1. Title: Unique name of the area.
  2. Brief Narrative: A ‘hook’ or overview of the area.
  3. Image: a representative image for the area ideally showcasing one of its features.
    • In order preference, the following images are used:
    • 1. An image from a member, or for which permission has been granted for its.
    • 2. If the NA is an OC, then use the Order in Council map
      • If there is a picture for an OC NA, still include the OC Map and place it just after the Statistics Header.
    • 3. If a PNT or CNT NA, use any of the following Screen Captures:
      • SAPAA Google map, or
      • Topographical Map (government of Canada), or
      • Other authoritative sources such as a county, Google, other online maps.
  4. Map: Location of the area via an interactive map (see detailed instructions below).
  5. Other Information (History and Natural Details): key historical notes about the area (its protection, former or nearby owners, etc.) and significant natural details.
  6. Statistics: From “SAPAA-MasterAreas” google sheet.
  7. References and Further Reading: links to sources about the area.

Content Suggestions

The following guidelines are used when creating content for an area:

  1. Content should be enduring.
    1. Content that is time sensitive (e.g. come out for hike on February 30, 2007), should not be included.
    2. While content will change and need to be updated, anything written should ideally be relevant for at least 1-2 years (notwithstanding significant external events).
  2. Non-government of Alberta content should be referenced (see the above ‘References and Further Reading’ for examples).
  3. Historical accounts of local Stewards are encouraged with permission of the individual and/or family.
    1. Bob Suruncle was the government appointed Steward from 1980 to 2020. He visited the site everyday until his passing on November 11, 2020.
    2. Mae West is the current Citizen-Steward, taking over from her neighbour Bob Suruncle in 2020. Leave a comment below if you wish to drop Ms. West a note.

Google Map Block

Chris maintains the official protected areas map. A custom HTML block is created using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to and zoom into the protected area.
    1. Zoom levels will vary depending but most will use 12-15; this value can be found at the end of the URL (e.g. &z=15).
  2. Capture the iframe information by clicking on the ’embed on my site’ option from the ellipses (three vertical dots); pasting into a text editor makes the next step easier.
  3. Capture the mid point value by extracting the latitude and longitude coordinates from the maps URL (e.g. &ll=53.22087872853241%2C-114.52119020301335).
  4. Paste the mid-point and zoom values into the above iframe code, the end result will look something like this (one HTML statement, broken out for demonstration purposes):
    1. <iframe src=”https:
    2. //″ width=”640″ height=”480″
    3. </iframe>
    4. WordPress will convert the text into a statement like this:
      1. Bold added for emphasis.
      2. Be sure to include the ampersands and intervening codes such as “%2C”.
  5. Create a Custom HTML block and paste the above iframe code into it, test the map generation in multiple browsers.
  6. The preferred aspect ration is 640×480.

Alternative Map Block

Google is the preferred mapping software although MapBox maps can also be generated via the following steps.

  • Enter an address to create a new marker.
  • Map Box will attempt to find the nearest location it has on file for these values, depending upon how close the nearest road is, they may not exactly correspond to the location of the area.
  • Markers can be deleted via the block settings panel (on the right).

File Management for an Area

If a page has not been created for an area then the legacy file from the previous website is used. The File format and metadata are as follows:


  • [AREA]: the name of the area being referenced.
    • If two or more words, spaces are removed; thus Alsike Bat Lake becomes “AlsikeBatLake”.
    • If the area type is included in the name (e.g. Alsike Bat Lake Natural Area), it is dropped.
  • [AREA-TYPE]: the abbreviated designation for the area
    • Uses the current legal designation.
    • Historical designations (if changed) are included in a separate column for reference.
    • NA = Natural Area
    • ER = Ecological Reserve
    • PP = Provincial Park
    • RL = Rangeland
    • WA = Wilderness Area
  • [DOCUMENT-TYPE]: type of file
    • Info: Information file
    • Map: Map only of an area
    • News: Newsletter or story of an area
    • Other: Other type of document
  • Caption: Natural language description of the file.
    • Key Attributes [FILE TYPE] [AREA] [LOCATION]:
      • [FILE TYPE]: Information Page, Map, etc.
      • [AREA]: Name of the area
      • [LOCATION]: Approximate location relative to a major landmark such as a city
    • Example: “Information page about the Alsike Bat Natura Area located SW of Edmonton
  • Description: Not required.

Area Descriptions

Sources of Size Information

Unfortunately the exact size and dimensions of protected areas is not always clear with multiple, sometimes competing, sources. Additionally, some sources may derive their size measures (e.g. from a GIS tool) and others may be legally defined (e.g. an OC site map). To manage these differences, the following ordinality is used:

  1. Order in Council: the value on a site map is a legal definition derived from a land survey.
  2. Land Reference Manual: or the “government’s website”. Ideally this should align with the OC and may contain more recent information if the OC has been modified.
  3. Google Map: sourced from the Government of Alberta, these values are derived by the Geographic Information System (GIS) tool. As such they should approximate the OC values and are the only source for other sites. Note, these values are not based on a land survey but are a good approximation.
  4. Historical SAPAA Sources: or “Linda’s Spreadsheet” is based on information sources no longer available to SAPAA but which likely has evolved to be the ‘Google Map’. This source contains both a reserve value where there are multiple, adjoining, sites, and individual values. Typically they correspond to the above sources.

Determining and Reporting Size Information

In determining size, the above ordinality should be used noting that in some cases, the respective size of a site may need to be calculated. The following guidelines can be used to do this:

  • PA’s with OC only: Use the numbers from the legal description in the current Govt. Land Reference Manual (overrides other values).
  • PAs with PNT only: Use Google map value (there are no values available).
  • PAs with OC and PNT portions: Subtract the OC from the total reserved area to calculate the PNT portion.
  • Compare to historical sources for reasonableness.
  • As required, update the historical sources (Google Master), ideally, this is done as a committee not individually.

In the text part of the description, OC and PNT sizes might be referred to individually/separately.

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