Site Statistics

How and what statistics SAPAA retains and manages on its website.

Master Files Used in Maintaining the SAPAA Website


SAPAA’s primary source of data on protected areas is from the Alberta Provincial Government. Secondary sources include the Federal government, designated agencies and non-governmental organizations.

  1. Data Fields
  2. Content Management
  3. Alberta’s Conservation Information Management System (ACIMS).
  4. Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (CPCAD), 2020.
  5. Stewards.

Data Fields

The above information sources provides hundreds of possible data types and potentially millions of records relating to Alberta’s protected areas. While these are all important, the most critical fields for SAPAA are as follows (with official or SAPAA definitions):

NameOfficial name of the protected area. Also: Site Name.From ACIMS or Alberta Government sources.
Web StatusHow stored on SAPAA website.Transitional field to help manage conversion from legacy pdf files to web pages. Not required after conversion is completed.
Site TypeLegal nature of the site.
Definitions, see: Protected Areas.
Types are defined in legislation or regulations by the Provincial Government.
Sub TypeSubordinate level of Site Type indicating additional information about its legal status. Mostly applicable to natural where there is a differential between Order in Council and Notations.
Natural Primary Natural RegionRegions as defined by the Alberta Government.
Land Reference Manual[TO BE DETERMINED]See: Land Reference Manual | Alberta Parks
Site # (Parks Website):
AreaThe physical size of the area in both metric (hectare) and imperial (acre) measures. There are subordinate types of area including reserve and designated. For SAPAA’s purposes these are not differentiated.
Steward StatusExistence of Steward and type.
1. Gov-Steward
2. SAPAA-Steward
3. None
4. Unknown
Per web project team, for the moment this field is left blank.
Recreation ActivitiesPermitted recreational activities.Per the above land reference manual designation.
IUCNInternational Union for Conservation of Nature CategoryCategories for land areas in relation to their protection. Protected Area Categories | IUCN
Operated ByWho is responsible for the area.By default the provincial government with select exceptions noting designated partners or land owners (e.g. land trusts).
Notes and CommentsDetails on who modified a record after its initial population. Listed in reverse chronological order.Update format: [DATE] – [ WHO]: [WHAT]
– 2098-12-31 – Bob Suruncle: removed SAPAA Steward.
– 2099-01-31 – Freda Iamright: volunteer SAPAA Steward recorded.
AssociationAssociation/ Organization (SAPAA Records)Per SAPAA records, who an organization (e.g. non-profit society) who has managed the site.
StewardFirst, Last and other NamesSelf-identified Stewards.
Definitions of Key Data Fields Used by SAPAA

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Content Management

Currently, SAPAA stores the above data fields in one of three locations: the Google Map, and two spreadsheets.

uses Google Sheets to manage the above records, they are as follows:

  1. SAPAA-Areas. Used as a table of contents for the List of Protected Areas.
    1. Natural Areas: list of the small natural areas.
    2. Other: list of other protected areas (e.g. ecological reservices, wilderness areas).
    3. This spreadsheet is currently managed by Frank.
  2. SAPAA-MasterAreas. Control file containing information about protected areas of interest to SAPAA.
    1. ProtectedAreaSites: One row per natural area; columns per the above data field definitions.
    2. HTML-Generator: Used to generate current Site Statistic information.
    3. MetaData Stores select controlled information.

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Annual Update

The above spreadsheets are updated on or around February 1 of each year. Prior to this date, the federal information source (CPCAD) is updated each December and provides sufficient time for the any changes to be reconciled to the current spreadsheet.

Data Sources

Multiple data sources are combined to provide the best possible view of the protected areas. In order of priority, SAPAA uses the following:

Alberta’s Conservation Information Management System (ACIMS) [1]

  1. Alberta Parks and Protected Areas, 2017. Administered by Alberta’s Conservation Information Management System (ACIMS).
    • This open access dataset shows all protected sites as designated under the following provincial legislation:
      1. Provincial Parks Act
      2. Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas and Heritage Rangelands Act
      3. Willmore Wilderness Park Act
  2. Alberta Crown Reservations, 2018.
    • Administered by Alberta’s Conservation Information Management System (ACIMS). This open access dataset includes PNTs and CNTs (for definitions of these, please see Protected Areas.

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Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database (CPCAD), 2020 [2].

  • This open access dataset administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada will be used to complement and update the information in the above-listed datasets.
  • It includes all protected areas in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) [3] categories and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs).
    • Ia Strict Nature Reserve
    • Ib Wilderness Area
    • II National Park
    • III Natural Monument or Feature
    • IV Habitat/Species Management Area
    • V Protected Landscape/ Seascape
    • VI Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources
  • Of note, it includes national parks and municipal parks which are not part of the provincial datasets.
  • Being 2-3 years newer than the previous datasets, it also has more up-to-date information about several new provincial protected areas that have been recently designated in Alberta.

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Steward Observations

SAPAA acknowledges three levels of stewards:

  1. Government-Appointed Stewards [4]. While no longer accepting new Stewards, existing government Stewards who self-identify to SAPAA are acknowledged and given privileged access to report on their respective protected areas.
  2. SAPAA-Acknowledged Stewards. SAPAA maintains its own list of acknowledged Stewards for either specific areas or ‘generalist’ Stewards. Similar to government appointed, these individuals are given privileged access.
  3. Members of the Public. Members of the public are encouraged to report on individual protected areas or provide general comments about protected areas in Alberta. SAPAA reserves the right to included, edit or exclude all comments from this category of stewards.

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Historical SAPAA Resources

For the past 20+ years, SAPAA has received and maintained its own separate data sets. These are based on initial government sources such as the Land Reference Manual. In the absence of other sources, this one is used.

References and Notes

  1. Alberta Conservation Information Management System (ACIMS) | Alberta Parks (accessed 2021-11-20).
  2. Canadian Protected and Conserved Areas Database – (accessed 2021-11-20).
  3. International Union for Conservation of Nature – IUCN (accessed 2021-11-20).
  4. Stewards | Alberta Parks (accessed 2021-11-20).