Alberta Parks’ Top 20 Policy and Research Questions – Provincial Workshop (2012)
Lars K. Hallstrom, Joyce Gould, John Parkins, Elizabeth Halpenny, and Naomi Finseth
Abstract: “Generation of priority research questions to inform Park management and conservation policy.”
Objectives: This project met multiple objectives of relevance to both the research and policy communities within the Parks Division of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. In addition to generating a list of relevant, feasible and implementable Parks priority research, this project:
1) Identified potential gaps and innovation in public policy that will support Parks sustainability in the face of demographic/social change, economic stressors and ecological variation;
2) Contributions to “horizon scanning”- the systematic search for potential threats and opportunities.
3) Increase communication, interactions and potential collaboration between government, non-governmental and research communities and practitioners; 4) Increase the exposure and knowledge base of the research community to the policy and research priorities of both governmental and non-governmental organizations at the provincial and federal levels in Canada.
5) Generate and communicate the policy and research priorities of different levels and branches of government across those different levels and branches; &
6) Provide guidance to funders and funding agencies as to areas of priority and interest.
Alberta Parks’ Top 20 Policy and Research Questions:
How does social change (in terms of values, behaviours, expectations, etc.) affect visitation to Alberta’s parks?
1.b How is social change affecting Alberta Parks’ ability to deliver its mandate?
How do: (1) the public; and (2) the provincial government define an optimal and efficiently management Park Agency, and what management, funding, and marketing and on-the-ground management practices models contribute to creating such as Agency?
What are the individual/familial/community/social impacts that are provided by Alberta Parks? (e.g., economic, health, ecosystem services)
What values do citizens assign to parks that ensure Alberta Parks and protected areas are retained, maintained and remain a part of our natural heritage? How should these values be assessed?
What elements/aspects of a park visit, foster or inspire more environmentally active and aware citizenship?
What will be/are the impacts/effects of climate change on the ecological and social systems in and immediately adjacent to Alberta Parks?
What spatially-based initiatives and spatial properties are needed to optimize conservation/preservation in or adjacent to Alberta Parks now, and into the future?
What tools and techniques are most effective in the restoration of species and ecosystems in Alberta Parks?
Using ecological and social carrying capacity as a guide, how can Parks enhance visitor experience and prioritize the ecological well-being of provincial parks while countering negative visitor and industrial effects on being?
What natural disturbance processes operate within provincial parks and how do we manage for them now and into the future?
How do current land management practices in Alberta Parks influence water resources?
What is Alberta Parks’ contribution to protecting biodiversity?
What are the most effective interventions to foster or reinforce positive behaviours and reduce non-compliance within Alberta Parks?
What are the most effective collaborative and network-based strategies for enhancing the spatial extent of Alberta Parks, while maintaining/improving relationships with neighbours?
What is the role of Alberta Parks in provincial and national efforts in the management, conservation and recovery of species at risk?
What are the barriers and processes for knowledge translation in Alberta Parks’ policies, decision making and practice(s)?
What are the best practices for funding the conservation of natural areas and open spaces? 7
How are invasive species being controlled, managed, affected or mitigated by Park’s policies and programs?
In light of growing population and industrial/economic pressures in the province, is demand for recreational opportunities and natural green spaces being met by each region’s existing family of provincial parks and other conservation and/or outdoor recreational lands?