“Today, we recognize and celebrate the many ways people of African, African American and Caribbean descent have contributed to life in Alberta.
“Black settlers arrived on the Prairies decades before Alberta became a province. They quickly became an important yet often-forgotten part of our collective story, which is still unfolding today.
“Black History Month recognizes the resilience, determination and vision of those first settlers and the many who followed them. Some have hoped to find freedom from persecution. Others have faced new obstacles here. But all have sought new opportunities, the joy of community and a better future for their children.
“Each February, Albertans of every heritage have an opportunity to honestly acknowledge these experiences. As we face that past together, we seek a better understanding of what it means to be Albertan today.
“I invite all Albertans to learn how to be better neighbours and build even stronger, more resilient communities.”
Campers can start booking their Alberta Parks provincial summer camping experience online Feb. 4.
Starting at 9 a.m., campers can log on to reserve.albertaparks.ca to book their group camping areas. Comfort camping reservations open Feb. 11 at 9 a.m., while individual campsite reservations for the May long weekend start Feb. 19.
New this year is Kananaskis backcountry camping reservations which open Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. Combined with additional individual, group and comfort camping options, Alberta Parks is offering more than 650 new online booking options.
“Albertans continue to flock to our online reservation system with their sights set on connecting with the great outdoors and evenings relaxing around the campfire. This year, we’re pleased to expand our reservation offering to include Alberta’s magnificent backcountry.”
Staggered reservation times by region for individual campsites on Feb. 19 are:
South region at 9 a.m.
Kananaskis Country at 11 a.m.
Central region at 1 p.m.
Northwest/east regions at 3 p.m.
Reservations made for individual campsites are 90 days out from the booking date.
In 2018, the reservation system processed 164,101 individual campsites, 3,251 group camping areas and 3,638 comfort camping units. The 2018 total exceeded the previous year’s online reservation tally of 163,780 and set a new record for annual bookings.
In the fiscal 2018-19 year, government is investing $38 million in provincial park upgrades, expansions and modernizations as part of its $239-million, five-year commitment under Budget 2016. Improvements to the provincial parks system include access for persons with disabilities, new and improved boat launches, facility upgrades and maintenance to popular amenities like picnic tables, fire pits and washrooms.
The RAP system added seven campgrounds combining 457 individual sites, five comfort camping units, eight new group camping areas and 17 backcountry campgrounds with 206 (permit) sites this year.
Backcountry reservations are campground-specific only, not site-specific, meaning people who book into the campgrounds can select a vacant site upon arrival.
Comfort camping units are shelters that come in a variety of styles, such as a yurt or canvas-wall tent, and include amenities like beds, table and chairs, cookware, utensils and power.
Alberta’s RAP system has nearly 600,000 account users.
There are about 250 provincial campgrounds with more than 14,000 campsites in the Alberta provincial parks system.
The RAP system allows online booking for 88 provincial campgrounds (the remaining provincial campgrounds are first come, first served), 162 group camping areas and 64 comfort camping units.
The online system is mobile-friendly, so people can book campsites on their mobile devices.
To make an online reservation, set up an account or update your existing account in advance of the reservation days, visit Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca.
Camping in Alberta remains an affordable family fun option; there are no new camping-related fee increases in 2019. Alberta Parks last introduced minor fee increases in 2016.
Revenue generated from camping fees is invested back into Alberta Parks.
“Dr. Hinshaw has been an invaluable member of our public health team and I thank her for filling in as acting Chief Medical Officer of Health over the past several months. I know she will continue working to improve the health of all Alberta families and communities in her new role. I offer my sincere thanks, on behalf of all Albertans, to Dr. Grimsrud for her exceptional work and commitment to protecting and promoting public health over the past several years.”
Dr. Hinshaw has served as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health since 2017. Since 2010, she has worked in various public health roles in Alberta, including Central Zone Lead Medical Officer of Health and Lead Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Surveillance and Infrastructure. She is also an associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary.
“I take my role in promoting and improving public health in Alberta very seriously and I look forward to continuing this important work as the Chief Medical Officer of Health. I am excited to see what new challenges and opportunities this position will bring in all aspects of population health and particularly in priority areas such as improving health outcomes for Indigenous Albertans and Alberta’s response to the opioid crisis.”
The Chief Medical Officer of Health is responsible for providing public health expertise to support health surveillance, population health and disease control initiatives on issues of public health importance. The position includes promoting and protecting the health of Albertans under the authority of the Public Health Act. The position acts as a liaison between the government and Alberta Health Services, medical officers of health and executive officers in administering the act.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health is also a co-chair of the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission, which oversees and implements urgent coordinated actions on the opioid crisis.