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Recreation Areas management plan review

Maps of Recreation Areas

What kind of park?

It's not up to us to say what kind of park to create. Cyclists, horseback riders, OHV riders, hikers, hunters, bird watchers, sightseers and many others want access. The cumulative impacts of these activities as well as agricultural and industrial uses is unsustainable. It is likely that recreational uses will need to be regulated. It's up to the government to decide how that is done and they will have to use a public process to reach a decision.

You can see the government guidlines for who can do what, where using the link below:


Use the "Spectrum of Sites" link to see the different classifications of protected areas.

Use the "Management Planning" link to see how they decide what kind of park to create, who will have access and what they can do there.


proposed park

Create a park!

The wildlands of Eastern Kananaskis (the Elbow, Sheep and Sibbald districts) should be protected from further industrial development and be designated a park.
The Parks Canada policy is the best way to manage the Kananaskis forest. They maintain natural ecosystems; intervening when pests like the pine beetle or forest fires threaten the integrity of that system, particularly when it puts surrounding lands at risk.

A 2006 Alberta Forest Products Association survey found that 84% of Albertans believe access and use of forests should be based primarily on preserving and protecting the environment and sustaining wildlife habitat, even at the expense of sustained economic benefits and jobs.

Socio-economic conditions have changed over the 60 years that Spray Lakes Sawmills has been logging the area. Kananaskis was only created 29 years ago. Now, 1/2-million people visit the Elbow Valley annually, making it the most popular recreation area in the province. This area is accessible both in terrain and in proximity to the 1-million people that live in Calgary. There are hundreds of businesses serving people that use the area. Rather than having any economic benefit, logging in Kananaskis will have negative impacts on tourism, recreation, residents, real estate and the small businesses that operate in the foothills. Logging on such a massive scale would put this economic diversity at risk. Resource development in residential and recreation areas is a disincentive to growth – so why are Alberta taxpayers subsidizing an industry to do something they don’t want done?

The northeastern districts of Kananaskis are part of the 42% of the area that is open to resource development. These foothills provide some of the best cycling, hiking and horseback riding in Kananaskis, and they are only 20 minutes from Calgary.
Getting there is relatively cheap and easy.
Being there is what makes living in Alberta so great.

The Elbow Valley is Suffering!

dirty waterThe Elbow River watershed supplies almost half of Calgary’s water. The cost of water treatment will likely outweigh any of the possible revenue generated by the logging operation and could cause water shortages and increased flooding.
Allen Bill Pond is now part of the Elbow River, the Ranger Station has been abandoned, access to the ice cave is locked. At the same time, increased industrial activity has brought new roads, pipelines, wells and a significant clearcut logging operation is about to begin.

iWildlife habitat has decreased due to increased industrial activity.
iBudget cuts have reduced staff, stopped interpretive programs and left trails and facilities in disrepair.

Global climate change, makes our forest vulnerable to the pine beetle and forest fire is a constant threat. Alberta is spending millions of dollars implementing a policy in the foothills that combines Stone-Age mentality and technology with results more destructive than the pine beetle itself. Spray Lakes should be reconstituted as a kind of gardener; pruning and planting where necessary to deal with the pine beetle and reduce the risk of forest fires.

The Kananaskis forest, a small fraction of Alberta’s lumber supply, is worth more as a forest than as lumber. Logging is important, but Spray Lakes is doing the wrong thing, in the wrong place. Clearcuts take a long time to recover and they’re ugly. In forty-five years (half the time it will take clearcuts to recover) the suburbs of Calgary will reach the Kananaskis border. Protect it now!

Tell the politicians that we will hold them accountable for the damage done to Kananaskis. Those are our trees and we think they’re worth saving.
Write to Ted Morton or Ed Stelmach (find contact info here: www.braggcreek.ca/forest