Podcast Season – Remembering Alberta Parks

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The In Over My Head Podcast, hosted by Michael Bartz, just released a season dedicated to the history of Alberta’s Provincial Parks in collaboration with CPAWS Southern Alberta and the Government of Alberta. The season, “Remembering Alberta Parks,” includes seven episodes ranging from the park system’s origins to Indigenous heritage in the parks.

Remembering Alberta Parks: Establishing the Parks

What was the motivation behind establishing Alberta Parks? Why is researching the history of provincial parks challenging, and should we include ordinary people in park history? 

Michael explores these questions with environmental historian Jessica DeWitt. She explains the unique reasons for creating Alberta Parks in the 1930s and the challenges with the first provincial parks including Aspen Beach. They discuss Fish Creek Provincial Park and the urban park movement in the 1970s, unintentional environmentalism and more. 

Remembering Alberta Parks: Ice Age Geology

What was prehistoric life like in Alberta 2.6 million years ago? What is the geologic significance of the provincial parks, and how can geology help us deepen our connection to the parks?

Michael explores these questions with history and earth science educator, and author Cory Gross. They cover the unique geology of Castle Wildland Provincial Park, Kananaskis, Sheep River Provincial Park, Cypress Hills Provincial Park and more.

Remembering Alberta Parks: An Archaeological Adventure in Glenbow Ranch

What unique history is buried under Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park? What is it like leading your first archaeological dig? What makes Glenbow Ranch ecologically significant and why does it need to be protected?

Michael explores these questions with archaeologist, historian, and author Shari Peyerl. Their conversation focuses on Shari’s book, Alberta’s Cornerstone Archaeological Adventures in Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. They cover the sandstone quarry of the 1900s, its significance to provincial buildings, Shari’s 2017 excavation of the bunkhouse and more.

Remembering Alberta Parks: Miquelon & Park Interpretation

What makes Miquelon Lake Provincial Park historically unique? What benefits do visitors get from their time at a provincial park? What is the history of park interpretation programs and why are they important today?

Michael explores these questions with the University of Alberta’s Glen Hvenegaard. They cover the history of Miquelon as a migratory bird sanctuary in the 1920s, its significance as a UNESCO biosphere and a dark sky preserve, the start of park interpretation programs in the 1960s and more.

Remembering Alberta Parks: Conservation in Kananaskis

Historically, what is the ecological significance of Kananaskis? What development concerns have arisen in the past, and what can people do to ensure this space is managed appropriately?

Michael explores these questions with Executive Director of CPAWS Southern Alberta Katie Morrison. They cover the ecological recognition of Kananaskis in the 1940s, the establishment of the Kananaskis country concept in the 1970s, CPAWS involvement in challenging development projects in the 1990s, and more.

Remembering Alberta Parks: Indigenous Heritage at Áísínai’pi

What is the significance of Áísínai’pi (Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park) to the Niitsítapi people? What is the role of policy in indigenous groups maintaining their spiritual connection to Áísínai’pi? How is the indigenous cultural understanding of heritage unique?

Michael explores these questions with heritage management practitioner Camina Weasel Moccasin. They cover the park’s establishment in the 1950s, the shift to the Blackfoot cultural connection in the 1970s, Camina’s research around Blackfoot perceptions of heritage management of Áísínai’pi and more.  

Remembering Alberta Parks: An Uplifting Conversation in the Crowsnest Pass (bonus)

In this bonus episode, Michael chats with small business owner Heather Davis about Uplift Adventures, a Crowsnest Pass-based outdoor tourism company. Heather explains how Uplift Adventures got its start, the realities of running a small business in the parks, and the historical significance of the Crowsnest Pass. Lastly, Heather offers advice on how you can connect to nature in a meaningful way and what’s next for her company.

Feature Image: “burstal pass hike, peter lougheed provincial park, alberta canada more @ http://mommyknows.com” by mommyknows { Kim Becker } is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
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is an environmental historian of Canada and the United States, editor, and digital communications strategist. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She is an executive member, editor-in-chief, and social media editor for the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE). She is also a working board member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society and Girls Rock Saskatoon. A passionate social justice advocate, she focuses on developing digital techniques and communications that bridge the divide between academia and the general public in order to democratize knowledge access. You can find out more about her and her freelance services at jessicamdewitt.com.

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