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Conservation groups issue call to action to protect Kananaskis watershed

Local conservation groups are raising the alarm ahead of Saturday’s planned start of clear-cutting in Kananaskis Country.

MEDIA RELEASE | Nov. 16, 2017

Local conservation groups are raising the alarm ahead of Saturday’s planned start of clear-cutting in Kananaskis Country.

Last week the Alberta government gave final approval for clear-cut logging to begin near Highwood Junction in Kananaskis. Road-building and harvest are slated to begin Nov. 18 and will see more than 400 hectares of trees removed through the winter. British Columbia-based Balcaen Consolidated Contracting Ltd. will be doing the cutting and the logs will be sent to Canfor’s mill in Elko, B.C.

“We’re frustrated by this decision. It is regrettable that this government is not prioritizing watershed health and ecological integrity when managing Alberta’s Eastern Slopes headwaters,” says Neil Williams, spokesperson for Take a Stand for the Upper Highwood. “They are choosing to continue following outdated forestry management policies that prioritize maximum timber yield over ecological values. Albertans need to let Premier Notley know that this is no longer acceptable management and needs to be changed.”

Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y), the southern Alberta chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and grassroots group Take a Stand for the Upper Highwood note further clear-cutting is planned for Kananaskis Country this winter by Cochrane based Spray Lake Sawmills south of the Sheep River region.

Albertans are being encouraged to voice their support for protecting Kananaskis Country to protect water, wildlife, and recreation opportunities there.

Today the three groups also released a “call to action” video created by Calgary-based animator Michael Kohlweg. The video urges Albertans to call Premier Rachel Notley’s office to share why they value Kananaskis Country and to ask for a change in headwaters management in the Eastern Slopes, away from out-of-date forestry practices.

The groups are not opposed to forestry in Kananaskis, but would like to see changes made to logging practices to better meet the needs of Albertans who value watershed protection, wildlife conservation and diverse recreation opportunities.

The South Saskatchewan Region Land Use Plan allows for logging in the region, but groups say that collaboration is needed to create a plan that accommodates all users of Kananaskis.