Outdoor Pursuits: By the Numbers

With a Western border created by the Rocky Mountains, Alberta is a natural gateway for mountain adventures and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, the Banff and Jasper National Parks are the most-visited national parks in Canada. Residents and visitors are drawn by a variety of mountain activities in both summer and winter, including downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, rock climbing and camping.

By the Numbers

  • $10 million Amount spent by the provincial government since 2019 conserving more than 22,000 acres of land
  • 14.9% Amount of Alberta’s land and fresh water that is protected
  • 2.8 million Hectares of land that make up the Provincial Park System
  • 16,000+ Reservations made online for stays at provincial campgrounds in 2019

Source: Government of Alberta

Alberta’s diverse landscape is more than just mountains, making the province’s backyard an ideal getaway for nearly any outdoor adventurer. From navigating the expansive boreal for­est trail systems in the north on ATVs or snowmobiles to discovering the natural wonder of the hoodoos in the badlands about 100 kilometres east of Calgary and kayaking the rapids of Milk River in southern Alberta, there are activities to suit all types of outdoor enthusiasts and adven­tures await year-round.

Let It Snow

An early blast of winter in October 2020 allowed two of Alberta’s most well-known ski resorts to open their trails at the earliest date in their histories. The snow arrived early in Banff with a measured 27 cm of snow on the ground by Oct. 14, which allowed Mt. Norquay to open on Oct. 24 and Lake Louise Ski Resort opened five days later on Oct. 29.

The two ski hills combine to provide nearly 4,400 acres of skiing and 220 runs, accessible through 16 chair lifts. While the big resorts of the Rocky Mountains – Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village, Nakiska and Marmot Basin-Jasper – capture a lot of tourist attention, there are more than 30 ski resorts scattered around the province, making up more than 600 kilometres of skiable slopes

Funding for Outdoor Renovations

Alberta’s parks are a key part of the economy, supporting opportunities and jobs in tourism, hospitality and services, and the provincial government gave this sector of the economy a boost in 2020 with $43 million.

The funding is anticipated to create more than 290 jobs for projects to enhance, repair and protect Alberta’s provincial parks. Some of the identified projects include: improving motorized and non-motorized recreation activities in parks and public lands, site modernization, maintenance and utility improvements.

In addition, the provincial government provided a nearly $500,000 grant to the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society to help the group continue its conservation and ecology work while upgrading education and visitor information at the park, further strengthening ties with non-profits and conservation societies.

Curating a WILD Adventure

GROWTH Alberta is an economic development alliance of communities in a region north of Edmonton that boasts unique outdoor adventures and a genuine connection with nature. Seeking to capitalize on the region’s location, the organization created a regional tourism brand – WILD Alberta – and created a website to help visitors plan expeditions in the area.

For the adventurous outdoor people, experiences include extensive ATV and motocross trails, tubing down the McLeod River, horseback riding, fishing, hunting or soaring through the air as a skydiver. The area has two skydiving academies that provide both tandem and solo skydiving trips.