History - Our Successes

CPAWS Southern Alberta works with other not-for-profit organizations, industry, government and First Nations people to safeguard public lands and water. Here is a sampling of some of the shared successes over the years:

Wilderness in Canada is healthier and more robust because of the half-century of work by staff and volunteers with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Since 1963, CPAWS has been instrumental in the creation of more than two-thirds of Canada’s protected areas.

Established just four years after the national organization, CPAWS Southern Alberta (SAB) was one of the first regional chapters in the country. It was started as a grassroots organization in response to commercial development pressures in Banff National Park. The work of CPAWS SAB helped shape the organization as a nationally recognized conservation organization.

Today, CPAWS SAB is one of 13 chapters across the country that focuses on protecting parks and natural ecosystems. We are a leader in large-scale wilderness conservation, national and provincial park management, establishment and protection of parks, and environmental education.

2015: CPAWS and friends worked to protect the Castle Wilderness and continue to ensure the management plan places ecological integrity as the top priority. 
2015: Reached environmental education milestone of 100,000 students. 
2015: Commissioned the first survey to look at recreation activities and wilderness values in Alberta.
2014: Bow Valley Parkway seasonal mandatory travel restrictions were implemented.
2014: Maligne Lake hotel proposal was not approved.
2014: The final SSRP was released creating the Pekisko Heritage Rangeland and some protection of the Eastern Slopes.
2014: Provided extensive input into the final South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, released in July, which sets the stage for development and conservation of Southern Alberta.
2013: A planned daylodge at Goat’s Eye Mountain in Sunshine Village ski resort was forced to meet national park water standards.
2013: CPAWS engaged Albertans in the public consultations on the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.
2012: Logging in the Castle wilderness was suspended pending the outcome of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, the government land-use plan for southern Alberta.
2011: Over 100,000 emails sent to the Premier demanding increased protection of the Castle Special Place, demonstrating an unprecedented broad-level of public support.
2011: Changes to the Alberta Parks Act, under Bill 29, that would have undermined Alberta’s Parks and Protected Areas, were put on hold after CPAWS and other groups held public information campaigns.
2010: Grizzly Bears were listed as threatened under Alberta’s Wildlife Act.
2009: Completed Planning Connections: Priorities for the South Saskatchewan Region (the southern third of Alberta). Made it available to government planners, accompanied by interactive web-based map detailing areas of environmental significance in Southern Alberta.
2009: CPAWS Calgary/Banff was renamed CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter.
2008: Pressed the Alberta government to make significant changes to parks policy, adding several key points in favour of conservation.
2008: Received prestigious 2008 Alberta Emerald Award for CPAWS Calgary/Banff Chapter Education Program.
2007: Produced Shooting the Gap: Wildlife and the TransCanada Highway in Banff National Park documentary.
2006: Pressured the government of Alberta to end the Grizzly Bear hunt until current research on their population status is completed.
2005: Completed Selected Ecological Resources of Alberta’s Castle Carbondale: A Synopsis of Current Knowledge in partnership with Shell Canada and Martin Jalkotzy of ARC Wildlife Services.
2004: Expanded the Spray Valley Provincial Park and Bow Valley Wildland Park through a finalized Management Plan for the Evan Thomas Provincial Recreation Area.
2003: Twinning approved for 12.5km of the TransCanada Highway lying east of Lake Louise with significant input from CPAWS and other ENGOs.
2003: Advised federal officials on environmental mitigation for G8 Summit Legacy wildlife crossing structures in the Bow Valley.
2000: Established Spray Valley Provincial Park and disallowed a major resort development in the Spray Valley.
1999: Defeated the flawed Alberta Natural Heritage Act.
1999: Pressured for the Kananaskis Country Recreational Development Policy.
1999: CPAWS intervened to prevent an exploratory well from being drilled in the Whaleback area of Southern Alberta. This was the first time an oil company was declined. Bob Creek Wildlands and Black Creek Heritage Rangeland were established.
1998: New Alberta parks were established: Elbow Sheep and Bow Valley Wildlands.
1997: CPAWS Southern Alberta began its education program which, to date, has reached more than 95,000 students and teachers.
1996: The Banff Bow Valley Study on Ecological Integrity was completed, resulting in legal caps on commercial development in Banff National Park.
1995: Construction started on overpasses over the TransCanada Highway in Banff National Park to facilitate wildlife movement and reduce wildlife collisions.  CPAWS was a leader in working with Parks Canada to ensure this conservation effort.
1994: First staff member was hired, working part-time. The staff increased to two full-time positions in 1996.
1994: Pressured for an Environmental Assessment to be required for Bow Valley RV Park.
1993: CPAWS, working with other groups, founded the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Conservation Initiative.
1992-3: Wind Valley, a major wildlife corridor near Exshaw, was saved from development.
1988: Amendments were made to the National Parks Act. Wording was changed to state that maintaining ecological integrity must come first in park management. These changes came about due, in large part, to a CPAWS campaign.
1985: The organization was renamed the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).
1972: NPPAC won a long-fought battle against a large scale tourism development in response to a proposal to host the winter Olympics in Banff National Park. Holding the games in Banff National Park would have had a terrible impact on wildlife and habitat in the Lake Louise area.
1971: NPPAC played a key role in defeating the “Prairie River Improvement Plan” which would have diverted water from northern Alberta watersheds to the southern part of the province.
1967-1993: CPAWS Calgary/Banff Chapter entirely volunteer-driven.
1967: The National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada (NPPAC) (later to be renamed CPAWS) established the Calgary/Banff Regional Chapter.
1963: CPAWS National founded.