Edmonton boasting the largest urban parkland in North America
October 16, 2008
Edmonton River Valley is one of the largest areas of urban parkland in North America, approximately 21 times larger than New York City’s Central Park. The next ICLEI World Congress will be hosted by the city from 14 to 18 June 2009.
A “Ribbon of Green”
The linear park system boasts 22 major parks that are linked through a series of paths, over 150 km of trails, open spaces, 11 lakes and 14 ravines. The natural park environment balances open space conservation and recreation development and promotes a network with other areas and facilities around the valley without increasing development in the valley.
There are 5 basic principles governing the “ribbon of green” the park encompasses, conservation, recreation, development, trails, and education.
1. Mixed use
While most of the river valley remains in a natural state and some areas of habitat are highly protected as a safe-guard against human encroachment on native vegetation and wildlife communities, recreation activities are encouraged and provided for as long as they are compatible with the parks conservation mandate.
2. No new facilities
New or expanded facilities are discouraged in the valley unless they serve to enhance recreation opportunities while being compatible with conservation, and should only be located in areas that have already been disturbed or where environmental impacts will be low.
3. Well-thought trails
Trails are an integral component of the park system and provide access through the valley. As such, trail width, surface and location must take into account the surrounding natural features to minimize environmental impact.
4. Environmental Education
Lastly, education programs are promoted as a means to increase awareness of the natural and human histories of the valley; encourage environmentally responsible use of the valley and respect for the natural features, wildlife, and human users alike.
Collaboration with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Edmonton is one of the pioneer in the ICLEI project "Local Action for Biodiversity", bringing expertise notably from its urban park and other urban biodiversity local projects.