Hiking in the Yukon. Image: Pat Morrow
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Going For Gold on Southern Alberta's Land Use Plan

With a February 28 deadline for comments on the South Saskatchewan Plan, it's time to leave it all out on the political rink and keep putting on the pressure.

A Note from Karsten Heuer

These are the words I hear over and over as commentators announce the various events from the Sochi Olympics.

“When you are in the final stretch for the gold medal, you got to leave it all out on the ice/hill/slope etc.”

These words resonate with me. They inspire me, and they remind me that this is exactly what we need to do now that we are in the final stretch of southern Alberta’s public consultation.

Livingstone Range, Southern Alberta - Photo: Stephen Legault

We Have Put On the Pressure

While not the sexiest of issues, the South Saskatchewan Regional Land Use Plan (SSRP) is the most important planning tool that will impact Albertan’s for decades. It will affect the water we drink, the land we play on and the wildlife we treasure.

Creek in Porcupine Hills AB - Photo: Stephen Legault
Hundreds responded to our action alerts and sent in heartfelt letters to our elected officials; hundreds picked up the phone and called in their concerns; there were tweets, Facebook messages and more!

These actions are making our elected officials take notice. At a recent meeting with a dozen Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), one MLA told me she had over 50 calls to her office alone. To rally this many people about an issue as unexciting as land-use planning impressed her. Together, we are making this a top political priority.

The result of all this pressure is that the government is open and looking for solutions to make the plan successful for everyone.

Going for Gold!

With a February 28 deadline to comment, we are in the final stretch of this phase of the process. It’s time to leave it all out on the political rink. We need to keep putting on the pressure.

The government is looking for a short list of specific recommendations to the plan, and we need you to help deliver them.

Please email, call, tweet or facebook your elected official and ask for the following four changes to the SSRP:

1: Protect the entire Castle Special Place – all 1,040 square kilometres of it – including the valley bottoms.

2: Establish a protected area in the Porcupine Hills.

3: Include Livingston Range forests in the proposed wildland park for the Livingston Range.

4: Create a new policy tool to establish linkage zones.

How we manage the spaces that connect protected areas plays a vital role in the health of our wildlife. A new policy to formally identify these areas and manage them appropriately to encourage wildlife movement would set a global precedent.

Even if you have voiced your opinion already, it is worth commenting again.