Beaver Hills designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve

March 23, 2016

Beaver Hills designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Strathcona County is pleased to congratulate the Beaver Hills Initiative and fellow members on the recent designation of the Beaver Hills as a UNESCO Biosphere. The announcement was made on March 19 at the 4th World Congress of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru that the Beaver Hills has become the second Biosphere in Alberta.

“Congratulations to all members of the Beaver Hills Initiative on achieving this prestigious global recognition acknowledging Beaver Hills as a model of sustainable development and stewardship,” says Strathcona County Mayor Roxanne Carr. “As part of the new Biosphere, we are excited to have this regional asset in our backyard, and look forward to the continued fostering of sustainable development and effective conservation.”

The Biosphere is located in the south east corner of Sherwood Park, AB and extends east of Elk Island National Park. The Beaver Hills is a distinct landscape covering 1572 square kilometres of hummocky moraine. The area is a unique patchwork of valuable wetlands, small lakes and forested uplands. Popular destinations include Elk Island National Park, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary and the Strathcona Wilderness Centre.

The designation will elevate the status of the area and provide a brand name to improve and diversify local tourism opportunities. This will, in turn, support local business owners by increasing traffic to area hotels, restaurants and attractions.

“Area residents should be proud to be part of this global demonstration area, that underscores that sustainable planning can coexist with economic activity,” says Carr.

Biosphere designation allows the Beaver Hills Initiative to gain and share information and support from national and international biosphere networks.

Strathcona County has been a member of the Beaver Hills Initiative since it formed in 2002, working to address development and land use planning within the moraine. The Beaver Hills Initiative has grown to over 20 member organizations, including Strathcona County, Lamont County, Beaver County and Leduc County, as well as provincial and federal government, local residents, indigenous organizations, NGOs and academia. Learn more about the Beaver Hills Biosphere.

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Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of almost 96,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.



Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595