Castle Provincial Park – Protecting Alberta’s Wildlands

As I spend more time in the wild places here in Canada, the more I look forward to added protection for our remaining natural outdoor spaces. There is much that can be learned by the First Nations of Canada with their respectful and symbiotic relationship with Mother Earth. It is with this understanding that Alberta’s newest park was formed, Castle Provincial Park.

Thanks to my recent ZenSeekers visit with Alberta Parks and Elders of the Piikani Nation I learned so much about Castle Provincial Park. It was a great honour to hear from the elders speaking of their passion of the land and how they are working with Alberta Parks. How together Piikani cultural values are an example of how the future Alberta Parks stewardship of these lands will benefit future generations of visitors.

Experience my trip for yourself in the story I wrote on the ZenSeekers website; Connecting to the land brings wow moments in Alberta’s new Castle Provincial Park.

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Castle Provincial Park – Alberta’s Newest Provincial Park

The Alberta Parks website describes the park as “Encompassing more than 105,000 hectares, Castle Provincial Park (and Castle Wildlands) contains stunning mountains, rolling hills, montane forests and meadows.”  Digging deeper in they go on to say it is a  “Valuable watersheds and habitat for more than 200 rare species such as whitebark and limber pine, Jones’ columbine, dwarf alpine poppy, grizzly bear, wolverine, westslope cutthroat trout and harlequin duck.”

We drove in from the east coming out of Pincher Creek but as we neared Castle Provincial park the lands abruptly heeded way to towering mountains and lush forests. Immediately you are in are transported to the majesty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

With my deep love of exploring places that have very little human trace and infrastructure the future plans for the Castle have lured my interest. In the press release for the park the Alberta government stated; “The Wildland Provincial Park will provide for back-country and wilderness experiences where facilities will be limited to trails and backcountry campsites that minimize visitor impacts. There will be limited built infrastructure.” As a backpacker and climber who supports Leave No Trace and experiencing the raw wild of Canada I couldn’t be more pleased to hear that.

Castle Provincial Park – Piikani Nation Traditional Territory

I am always appreciative of the forests, rivers, lakes and mountains I travel upon and show respect to Mother Earth. I have gotten much better at this and have learned how we are one with the land and our relationship show be one of give and take. No one teaches and shows this example better than the First Nations of this country.

The Castle Provincial Park region is sacred to the Piikani Nation who have called this land home for well over 10,000 years. It was and still is a traditional hunting and fishing territory as well as spiritual place for them.

I spoke with elder Margaret Plain Eagle who said, ““This is the traditional land of the Piikani First Nation and you have now turned it into a park. It is so beautiful, the mountains and trees. We protected this land in the old days and thanked the Creator for what Nature has given to our people.”

“We invite all people to come share the beauty this part of Alberta holds. This is one of the last remaining natural wild lands in the region. This is the traditional land upon which we hunted and fished, I am pleased to see it now protected as a provincial park.” Jordan No Chief added while we spoke with Margaret.

After speaking with Margaret and Jordan about the importance the land has and why protecting it is so important Aaron Domes of Alberta Parks added a comment. ““We are proud to be working with the Piikani Nation to manage the Castle Parks. Having the close involvement and support of our local Indigenous community helps us understand the land, its history, and how we can work together to protect it for future generations.”

Castle Provincial Park – First of its Kind in Alberta

For more information on this inspiring co-operative management model that the Alberta Government, Alberta Parks and the Piikani Nation further reading can be found in this CBC News article.

Within the article the Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips was quoted by CBC as saying. “Piikani First Nation will be a key partner in the parks’ management, Phillips said. We will have an opportunity to identify sacred sites and have a say into how they are managed. Castle’s the first place we’re doing this in the history of the province. This is traditional territory for Piikani for hunting and fishing, but also for medicine … it’s really important that conservation serve those treaty obligations.”



A Mindful Zen Experience in Castle Provincial Park

I can’t thank ZenSeekers enough for my opportunity to spend the day with Margaret and Jordan from the Piikani Nation. I was grateful to meet Aaron Domes from Alberta Parks as well and hear his passion for the work he is doing in the region and for the parks. Again here is the story from that day ~


Castle Provincial Park – If You Go

Castle Provincial Park is around two and a half hours south of Calgary.

Check into Alberta Parks to start planning your trip and other activities in the area.

Travel Alberta also has lots of great information about things to do and places to see in Castle Provincial Park.

Canalta Hotels has partnered up with a collection of destinations across Southern Alberta.  Stay a Night & See a Sight. They’re set to help you plan your trip.

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Disclosure: This post was published in partnership with ZenSeekers

I really hope you liked my Castle Provincial Park – Protecting Alberta’s Wildland article. For other fun summer trips and suggestions check out my Mindful Explorer Road Trip Page . As well I am always grateful for a follow on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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