During Alberta ’s oil-and-gas boom of the 1970s, oil revenues collected by the provincial government were channeled into various projects aimed at improving the lifestyle of Albertans. One lasting legacy of the boom is Kananaskis Country (pronounced Can-AN-a-skiss), a sprawling 4,250-square-kilometer (1,640-square-mile) wilderness area west of Calgary  that has been developed with an emphasis on providing recreation opportunities for as many people as possible.
Although Kananaskis Country lacks the famous lakes and glaciated peaks of Banff and Jasper National Parks , in many ways it rivals them. Wildlife is abundant, and opportunities for observation of larger mammals are superb. The region has large populations of moose, mule and white-tailed deer, elk, black bears, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Wolves, grizzly bears, and cougars are present, too, but are less likely to be seen.
The main access to Kananaskis Country is 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Calgary off the TransCanada Highway. Other points of access are south from Canmore , at Bragg Creek  on the region’s east border, or west from Longview in the southeast.
For more information, contact the Tourism, Parks and Recreation office of the provincial government (403/678-5508, www.tpr.alberta.ca/parks ). Another good source of information is Friends of Kananaskis Country (www.kananaskis.org ), a nonprofit organization that advertises educational programs, is involved in a variety of hands-on projects, and promotes Kananaskis Country in partnership with the government.