Y2Y is working to ensure greater protection for Alberta’s headwaters.
January 20, 2017
Castle Protection Edges Alberta Closer to Conservation Milestone
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) are praising the formal designation of the Castle Wildland and Provincial Parks by Premier Notley, Minister Phillips and Minister Miranda today.
“It’s been a long time since Alberta made a concerted effort to protect nature,” says Katie Morrison, conservation director with the Southern Alberta Chapter of CPAWS. “We hope that today’s announcement by the Premier signals a renewed focus on parks and protected areas across the province.”
The Castle Parks were announced on Sept. 4, 2015 and passed through order-in-council this week. The Castle, located in southwestern Alberta, is at the heart of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, and a flagship landscape in the Yellowstone to Yukon region.
“There are many places across Alberta that are long overdue for conservation,” says Stephen Legault, program director for the Crown, Alberta and Northwest Territories for Y2Y. “Much-loved regions such as Kananaskis Country, where Calgary’s water comes from, and the Bighorn area, where Edmonton gets its water, are in need of more protection.”
Legault notes that other areas in the Oldman, Bow and North Saskatchewan watersheds are also at risk.
Both groups applaud the decision to phase out off highway vehicle (OHV) use from the Castle Wildland and Provincial Parks and expand protection for the region’s headwaters, saying it sets a new direction for protected areas in Alberta.
“The decision to phase out OHV use from the Castle parks reinforces that protected areas are places for nature conservation and quiet recreation,” says Morrison, “Alberta has made it clear that it takes seriously the effort to protect places for grizzly bears, westslope cutthroat trout and the clean clear water that flows out of the Castle.”
“For the first time in decades we can anticipate a time when the Castle will be free of both logging and motorized recreation. We’ll continue to encourage the government to speed up the phase out of OHV’s in the Castle,” says Legault. “If you compare where we are with just 18 months ago this signals significant momentum towards conservation.”
“Alberta has committed to achieving the international milestone of protecting 17 per cent of its landscapes by 2020,” says Morrison. “There’s still important work to be done. We hope to work with Albertans and the government to achieve this important goal for protecting nature.”
“Albertans support the creation of new parks to protect our headwaters and to create jobs and stimulate new business opportunities,” says Legault. “We’re glad that Premier Notley is showing real leadership and that her government takes the protection of nature seriously.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Celebrate this decision with Premier Notley and Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips. Let them know Alberta’s headwaters matter to you and congratulate them on this announcement. You can:
- Contact Premier Notley at 403.310.0000 or via email at email@example.com;
- Contact Minister Phillips at 403.310.0000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org;
2. Add your voice to the consultation on the Castle Parks Management Plan;
3. Sign up for news alerts about this issue from Y2Y;
4. Follow the campaign on social media:
• Twitter: @Headwaters_AB, #loveyourheadwaters
• Instagram: @loveyourheadwaters, #loveyourheadwaters
Add Your Voice: Sign up to receive our Action Alerts and be alerted tofind out about opportunities to provide your input.
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GET THE LATEST: Alberta Headwater News
“The first call to protect this land came in the late 1970s,” says Stephen Legault, Y2Y’s program director for Crown, Alberta and Northwest Territories.
Setting the boundaries of the expanded Castle Wildland Provincial Park and the new Castle Provincial Park in southwestern Alberta bring one of the most biologically diverse areas in the province under provincial protection.
Y2Y's Stephen Legault makes the argument for Alberta's water security in this op-ed published in the Calgary Herald on Jan. 7. 2017.
The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society are applauding a private members motion passed in the Alberta Legislature on December 12, 2016.
A recent poll done for Y2Y shows strong public support for creating a new provincial park in the Bighorn area west of Rocky Mountain House.