One of the principle points of concern in June was the lack of consultation with recreation and environmental interests regarding the "Detailed Forest Management Plan" for logging Kananaskis.
No consultations with representatives of these interests have taken place. A Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition request for a meeting with Ted Morton in February, 2007 received no reply.
Kananaskis, in particular the eastern districts, should be designated a protected park (Moose Mountain Park). As a park, the techniques used in the national parks could be used to combat the pine beetle.
Parks Canada policy directs that native insects and diseases are natural ecological processes that should be allowed to proceed without interference if possible. However, the concerns of adjacent land managers must be considered, and where insects or disease pose a serious threat to provincial lands, intervention may occur.
The eastern slopes and foothills of the Rockies includes the Sheep, Elbow and Sibbald districts. Those areas are the most accessible and the most vulnerable. They are an important recreation and tourism resource, attracting about a million visitors annually.
Sports and recreation equipment sales, outfitters and guides, restaurants, gas stations and gift shops all depend on the popularity of Kananaskis to support their businesses. Economic interests in Calgary and Bragg Creek, including real estate values, will be negatively affected when there are no trees in the forest.
Further industrial development puts our health and safety at risk.
Albertans express a strong attachment to Kananaskis – they own it, they use it and it provides the water that sustains them. Almost every letter sent in June 2006 said that logging should not occur and that logged land would be a personal loss. How can the government ignore that concern?
There is a lot of science and public opinion to warrant reconsidering further industrial development in Kananaskis, but SRD isn't listening.
Several groups, known as the landowners, have formed along the foothills south of Calgary including the Pekisko, Livingstone and Porcupine associations. They want to protect agricultural rangeland and the environment . They are concerned about gas exploration and development. Their "Southern Foothills Study" reveals the ecological impact of industrial, recreational and residential development on the "natural capital" of the region.
Brad Stelfox is conducting the study. He says the current rate of growth is unsustainable.
Unlike B.C. and other jurisdictions, Alberta has no "Land Use" plan.
Kananaskis is managed as a multi-use area. This policy doesn't work as the interests of the various users are at odds. One alternative would separate the interests into regional distributions across the province.
In the Crowsnest Pass, groups advocate for creation of a park and preservation of environmental and social values in the face of extensive logging and gas extraction.
The CROWPAC advisory committee for the C5 Forest Management Plan have identified the same concerns as we have for Kananaskis, that is, that long-term logging plans are being approved when environmental, economic and social impacts are not being addressed.
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