What is the Listing of Historic Resources?

Alberta Culture and Tourism is responsible for the examination, preservation and protection of Alberta’s historic resources on behalf of the people of Alberta as mandated by the Historical Resources Act. The Listing of Historic Resources (Listing) is an important tool used in this work. The Listing identifies lands that contain, or have high potential to contain, historic resources such as archaeological, palaeontological, historic or aboriginal traditional use sites. The Listing is also a useful tool for developers, their agents and other regulatory bodies to help determine before development if a proposed project may affect historic resources.

The Listing is reviewed and updated twice a year by Alberta Culture and Tourism’s Historic Resources Management Branch (HRMB). The Listing does not include all lands that may contain historic resources. As previously unknown historic resources are discovered, their locations are added to the Listing. The locations of historic resources that have suffered substantial degradation due to human activities or natural forces may be removed from the Listing.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Special Place Provincial Historic Resource, near Fort Macleod (Historic Resources Management Branch, June 2002).
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Provincial Historic Resource and UNESCO World Heritage Site, located near Fort Macleod (Historic Resources Management Branch, June 2002).

Each land parcel included in the Listing has been assigned a Historic Resource Value (HRV) ranging from 1 to 5. The highest level of significance, HRV 1, is given to lands that have been designated under the Historical Resources Act as a Provincial Historic Resource. HRV 1 is also used to identify World Heritage Sites and lands owned by Alberta Culture and Tourism for historic resource protection. Other HRVs are defined as follows:

  • HRV 2: designated as a Municipal Historic Resource or Registered Historic Resource under the Historical Resources Act.
  • HRV 3: contains a known and significant historic resource that is of great significance and will require avoidance or assessment.
  • HRV 4: contains a historic resource that may require avoidance or assessment.
  • HRV 5: has high potential to contain a historic resource.

Each entry in the Listing also includes a letter notation that describes the primary historic resource category of concern, as follows:

  • a: archaeological
  • c: cultural
  • gl: geological
  • h: historic period
  • n: natural
  • p: palaeontological

A parcel of land may be assigned HRVs from more than one category if different types of historic resources have been recorded on or in the vicinity of the property.

Due to their inherently fragile nature, historic resources are susceptible to the effects of time and damage caused by modern activities. Any proposals to develop lands included on the Listing are assessed by the HRMB for their potential to affect the resource. The assessment is comprehensive. For example, any activity for a parcel listed as a “p” (for palaeontological resources) may also be assessed for potential archaeological sites. The staff of the HRMB work together to evaluate what effect the proposed development or activity may have on any historical resources in the area.

The Listing of Historic Resources is employed, in conjunction with other information resources, to ensure that the opportunity for enhancing that knowledge is not lost under the pressures of development. For more information on the Listing of Historic Resources, please see our website.

Written by: Pauline Bodevin, Regulatory Approvals Coordinator

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