Comments on industrial Use of Kananaskis
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I never thought of it that way in the forefront of my brain, but little bits have been eating at the soul here for a while and this might be it.
We live in the beautiful Porcupine Hills and we are seeing what is happening to the environment with this industrial activity. Is our whole province going to look like Texas? We do not want it to. Please keep Kananaskis in its natural state.
Multiple use theory is the most arcane and backward park management idea to surface in North America. Wilderness is wilderness. It is respite from the city. It is crucial habitat and a fragile ecosystem which provides many free 'services'. It is a place to reclaim one's soul. The Klein government, however, has mistakenly lumped wilderness into the same categories which account for the bottom line in their fiscal (resource) revenues. In Alberta, after all, money rules and greed is great. Over 30 years of conservative rule has ensured this warped paradigm, and wilderness is the pawn which has been sacrificed.
In Kananaskis Country, one need only climb Moose Mtn. to see the damage wrought by gas (the Canyon Creek compressor , the many deadly sour gas wells which pepper the mountain and their zig-zag roads, and the seismic cuts which have shattered the forest in every direction but up) and logging (to the west and south cut blocks are neatly hidden away from the tourist corridors). Alas, a bike ride
through McLean Creek will also provide a good perspective of what life on the Moon would be like.
I strongly believe that the people of this province need to STOP worrying about how much money we have in our bank accounts, and vote to change the ruling government in power, which will pander to any and all industrial pursuits. It was they, after all, who named a wilderness park after a premier who would have gladly paved it over and developed it into a gaudy resort. No one wants to see the "Ralph Klein Memorial Wilderness Park and Day Spa/Conference Centre & Hotel Complex" when he finally retires.
If left unchecked, Alberta's percieved 'frontier' wilderness (Kananaskis) will be nothing more than an industrial wasteland devoid of wildlife and shunned by the people for whom it was created. We must protect this Natural Capital for our children and grandchildren. Even Preston Manning wrote about this. I wonder if Ralph Klein and his successor will open their eyes to what is happening?
This is great. It's wonderful to hear from anybody who's also pissed off by how K-country is treated. Lots of well phrased arguments.
Should this focus be expanded to include other industrial users, too (logging, grazing)? It's their collective impact that's so disturbing!
It'd be interesting to compare road construction of loggers & the oil companies. The loggers would seem to be the bigger culprits, since their roads reach everywhere (see air photos of area). Perhaps we can query a GIS database to get the Kms of logging roads in the subject area, to support & extend your point.
At twenty-eight years, Kananaskis is young compared to other natural preserves (!if only Kananaskis were a natural preserve!), like Banff.
They even managed to get the Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition to acquiesce in exchange for adjustments to their plan and an agreement to monitor and preserve (better to change this word to "partially compensate for injuries to") the environment.
In 2001, without public input or consultation, management of this unprotected area was transferred to Spray Lakes Sawmills Ltd., through a renewable 20 year Forest Management Agreement.
It is hard to argue against them based on technical and environmental concerns (I disagree...the environmental concerns are easy to make, they're just of little interest to the EUB) – virtually the only arguments that the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board will listen to
The photos accompanying this article show that they are ripping up the wilderness – destroying the environment (emphasize the air photo, it's quite revealing of the extensive industrial footprint).
We need to tell the gas and logging companies that they are not welcome in our playground. (the environmental impact of the loggers, in my opinion, dwarfs that of the gassers).
You could also argue the point based on "who benefits", rather than rights. They're allowing a few individuals (the industries, including ranchers) to have disproportionate impact of use. If the place was managed for the typical user (= recreationist), the industrial use would be restricted to a tiny footprint, rather than the dominant impact that it currently has. Multi-use should be more democratic: not that every use category is important, that every USER is important. This democracy would easily rebalance things in a more environmentally friendly way. In your parlance, there'd be less pooping in our back yards.
Dr. David Swann
Thanks for these important comments and our brief discussion by phone. We all must get involved if we are to protect the natural capital that we share - beyond resource extraction.
The government fails to accept responsibility for public lands. They need to be held accountable.
Read replies to letters written to Petro-Canada, EUB and Sustainable Resources