Fire damage to the Rocking Heart Ranch just outside Waterton Lakes National Park is shown in a handout photo. With a forecast calling for rain for the next few days, crews fighting a wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park and the surrounding area in southern Alberta have some reason for optimism. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Sierra Garner

$20.9M allocated to Waterton Lakes National Park recovery

The 2017 Kenow Wildfire burned roughly 20,000 hectares in Waterton Lakes National Park

Today the government announced a $20.9M investment to support the ongoing wildfire recovery in Waterton Lakes National Park.

The 2017 Kenow Wildfire burned roughly 20,000 hectares in Waterton Lakes National Park, impacting approximately 38 per cent of the park. It resulted in loss or significant damage to over 30 visitor experience and operational assets.

Look back: Evacuation order issued for Waterton Lakes National Park

The announcement was made today in Calgary by member of parliament, Kent Hehr, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna.

“Canada’s national parks play a critical role in shaping our national identity, protecting nature and wildlife, and fighting climate change,” said McKenna.

“The funding being announced today will make a significant contribution to the wildfire recovery efforts in Waterton Lakes National Park.”

They further explained that the funds originally earmarked for the Icefields Trail project in Jasper National Park are being re-directed to other priorities within Parks Canada such as the funding being announced today to support post-wildfire recovery in Waterton Lakes National Park.

This investment in Waterton is said to help protect and monitor the park’s ecosystems as they recover from this natural disturbance, support research on the park’s cultural heritage in collaboration with Indigenous communities in various on-the-ground conservation activities, and help re-establish the park’s visitor offer.

Key projects will include rebuilding damaged or destroyed infrastructure essential for visitor services, including rehabilitation of Red Rock Parkway, reconstruction of the Cameron Falls site and Bear’s Hump trail, advancing Crandell Mountain Campground restoration, as well as an archeological research program to assess and analyze cultural landscapes and sites revealed by the wildfire.

Waterton Lakes National Park is currently open and continues to welcome visitors. Parks Canada say they are committed to providing high-quality and meaningful experiences to visitors and Waterton has many recreational opportunities for visitors this year.



editor@thefreepress.ca

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