Susan Thompson
South Peace News

Northern Sunrise County is not happy about the Government of Alberta’s plans for Greene Valley Provincial Park, calling their proposal “troubling.”

The provincial government has said they will fully or partially close 20 provincial parks and find third-party managers for another 164 parks.
If no third-party managers can be found, parks including the Greene Valley Park will revert to Crown land. Crown land can be sold.

Greene Valley Provincial Park includes the iconic 12-Foot Davis gravesite, the 6-Foot recreation area, and the Dr. Greene cairn, which are all well-known local landmarks and tourist destinations.
The park is the only white zone provincial park in Alberta.
Northern Sunrise County says it should remain a provincial park.

In a letter to Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon dated June 11, the County says the park is an important wildlife corridor, and a change in status may threaten wildlife.

“If GVPP transfers to Crown land, the restrictions on access and usage will change, including allowing access to hunters,” the letter signed by Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba says.

The County also says tourism opportunities are limited in the north and they don’t want to lose any parks.

The Town of Peace River reviewed the letter at their regular meeting June 22. Mayor Tom Tarpey says the Town doesn’t want the park operated by a private individual or individuals.

“The natural barriers that are on there, the beaver dams, are really a good flood control measure and I’m a little worried that if people see it as just a large culvert we’ll have a similar situation happening on the Heart River as we do on Pat’s Creek.”

The Town reviewed the final report on the spring flooding of Pat’s Creek at the same meeting, making the issue of potential floods top of mind for council.

Council agreed to send their own letter to Nixon signed by the mayor in support of Northern Sunrise, highlighting the park’s important use for flood mitigation.

The Province has since quietly updated the COVID-19 response section of the Alberta Parks website. No official announcement was made, but the website now states, “We will operate the 17 parks’ sites previously identified for closure this season because we want to give Albertans more opportunities to camp and connect with nature over the summer as we all recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Greene Valley park is one of the 17 parks that the government says will remain open as a “temporary measure for this camping season.” It was opened June 1 for day use.

It remains uncertain what will happen to the park after this season.