Economic

Successful park pass introduction brings in millions

Kananaskis pass garners $5.7M in initial weeks of program. Conservation pass introduced June 1 after record-setting visitation strained the region.

Alberta’s provincial government has reaped more than $5.7 million from Kananaskis Country passes in the inaugural weeks of the program. 

Visitors to Kananaskis Country were required to purchase a pass starting on June 1 to access the 4,200 square kilometres of wilderness just west of Calgary. 

Earlier in the spring, the province said the fee had become necessary after a record setting 5.3 million visitors last year created environmental strain on the region. Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon vowed the money collected from pass sales would be used to better K-Country, as it’s called. 

The regional director for the area says about $2 million of the revenue from those sales has already been reinvested into the provincial park. The program is expected to generate $15 million per year. 

Alberta Parks says 21,500 day passes for the region and 55,600 annual passes have been sold since the initiative began. Roycroft estimates Kananaskis will continue to see near-record levels of visitation in 2021. 

The provincial government has been criticized for some of its parks policies, and critics say they need to be transparent about whether this new pass is accomplishing the goals the minister outlined.  

Day-use passes cost $15 per vehicle while an annual vehicle pass, which can be used 365 days from its date of purchase, is $90. Two vehicles can be assigned to an annual pass if they are registered to the same address.

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