Promoting Conservation with Parks and Wildlife Ventures Land Holdings

Prospector’s Point is a great lookout at Imrie Park

Many Albertans may be surprised to learn that Imrie Park is, technically speaking, not a provincial park.

Located a half-hour drive northwest of Edmonton, it’s a beautiful natural area with camping opportunities, a picnic area, groomed trails and places to observe wildlife. Most people visiting Imrie Park will not notice that it’s different than other provincial parks.

So, if Imrie Park looks like a provincial park, operates like a provincial park, and is even called a park, why isn’t it one?

Imrie Park is one of nine Parks and Wildlife Ventures (PWV) land holdings, part of a program that allowed people to donate land to the provincial government in trust for public use. Mary Louise Imrie, the first woman architect in Edmonton, donated the land now known as Imrie Park in 1988.

While most land trusts focus on conservation values only, with passive recreation often an afterthought, the PWV program is concerned with conservation and outdoor recreational opportunities.

The program, initiated in 1988, at one point featured 23 properties, with more than 2,600 acres of land. All of these properties are still fulfilling their mandates, but most have been legally transferred to other organizations such as conservation associations. These properties continue to fulfill the PWV mandate to preserve wildlife habitat, ensure watershed protection and provide recreational values to Albertans for generations to come.

Each of the nine existing PWV land holdings has specific rules surrounding on how the land is used, based on the wishes of the people who donated it. At Imrie Park, camping, skiing and camp fires are allowed, but hunting, horses and off-highway vehicles are not permitted. The restrictions for each land holding are posted at the site, and on the Environment and Parks web pages.

Depending on what you’re planning to do, some of these locations can be a great alternative to the more well-known provincial parks. A map showing where they are located can be found here.

Although the program is no longer accepting donations, PWV still brings together landowners, community groups, industry, government agencies, volunteers and individual donors.  In partnership, these groups work to achieve conservation goals across the Alberta landscape.

We encourage Albertans to visit these sites and enjoy the benefits of this unique Alberta program.

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