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Castle consultation points direction forward to protect water and wildlife

Staff at Y2Y say that after more than three months of public consultation, they anticipate the province will move forward with a balanced approach to managing Alberta’s new Castle Wildland and Provincial Parks.

MEDIA RELEASE
April 19, 2017

Staff at Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) say that after more than three months of public consultation, they anticipate the province will move forward with a balanced approach to managing Alberta’s new Castle Wildland and Provincial Parks.

“This has been one of the most exhaustive consultation processes in Alberta history,” says Stephen Legault, program director at Y2Y. “The South Saskatchewan Regional Planning Process and more recently the Castle Parks Management Plan public consultation process has provided Albertans with many opportunities to ensure their voices have been heard on the important issue of protecting this unique corner of the province.”

The Castle Parks are 1,000 square kilometres of rugged mountains and foothills in the southwestern corner of the province, north of Waterton Lakes National Park and south of Crowsnest Pass. They form part of the Crown of the Continent, one of the most biologically diverse regions of North America.

“Our hope is that the province moves forward with a management plan that protects this phenomenal landscape,” says Connie Simmons, an area resident who has worked with community groups on the Castle planning process on behalf of Y2Y. “It’s where our water comes from, where we recreate, where our wildlife live. It can be the backbone of an expanded tourism economy in southern Alberta.” 

The consultation process has at times revealed divisions in how Albertans use the Castle region and other Eastern Slopes landscapes. These divisions have focused on different recreation activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing and off-highway vehicle (OHV) use.

“We’ve been most encouraged when different groups and points of view have been expressed respectfully,” says Legault. “We may have different ways of enjoying Alberta’s mountains and foothills, but most Albertans share common values. Those values include protecting our water and wildlife. It’s something almost everyone in the province agrees on. We can build on that common ground as we move forward as our province grows and pressures mount on unique places like the Castle.”

Y2Y and its partners hope to continue respectful and productive dialog with First Nations, community groups, municipalities, and leaders from the motorized and non-motorized recreation community about the future of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes.

For further comment please contact:

Stephen Legault, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative program director for Crown, Alberta and Northwest Territories, 403-688-2964 | stephen@y2y.net

Connie Simmons, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative program co-ordinator for Crown of the Continent, 403-627-1736 | connie@y2y.net