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Sara Renner, Y2Y supporter

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Stephenson a leading voice and champion for Bow Valley environmental issues

Current and former staff Y2Y are saddened to hear of the death of conservationist, local storyteller and historian, Gerry Stephenson.

Current and former staff at Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) are saddened to hear of the death of conservationist, local storyteller and historian, Gerry Stephenson. 

Stephenson was an important part of Y2Y's work in and around Canmore, including proposed development for Three Sisters. His dedication to the people and wildlife of the Bow Valley will be missed.  

“Gerry was a staunch advocate for wilderness and waters, we will all miss him and his contributions to this community,” says Hilary Young, senior Alberta program manager at Y2Y. “He was always willing to share his knowledge and to speak up for conservation concerns in the Bow Valley.” 

Originally from England’s Lake District, Stephenson was introduced to fishing at age 10 by his father, going on to become an avid fly fisherman who pursued that passion throughout the remainder of his life.

Arriving in Canmore in 1968, he spent many hours on Alberta’s rivers and says it was his time fly-fishing that helped him develop his great appreciation for the province’s wild rivers and lands.  

Stephenson worked as the chief engineer at Canmore Mines Ltd. and was involved with designing and engineering mines as well as reclamation of past mining activities including Quarry Lake’s conversion from a former strip mine. 

In the late 1970s along with his wife Avice, he led the successful fight against proposals that would have seen two airports built adjacent to Canmore. He continued to be actively involved in various conservation issues in the Bow Valley throughout his 51 years in town.  

A 2015 article he wrote for Highline Magazine stated he understood that the beauty and health of the landscape could be depleted if one “... did not keep a watchful eye on timber extraction, mining, drilling and development.”  

In recent years, he played an integral role in the matter of Three Sisters land development, advocating for careful decision-making given the history of undermining in the neighborhood, a topic he was very familiar with.  

“Gerry’s personable and humorous attitude stood out to me when I first met him while volunteering with a community conservation group in Canmore in 2017. His depth of knowledge and passion was particularly inspiringHe had such incredible energy, even in his eighties, to speak up and ensure that community members and decision-makers had the facts about undermining in areas proposed for development,” says Jennifer Stelfox, Y2Y’s Alberta program coordinator 

“We will miss his voice advocating for the continued well-being of the lands and waters in the Bow ValleyI hope we continue to be inspired by Gerry’s passion for nature and carry the knowledge he shared into the future as we make decisions about the health of our lands and waters.” 

A celebration of Stephenson's life is planned for Nov. 11, 2019 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Canmore's Malcolm Hotel. 

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