The June 2006 campaign to raise awareness of clear-cut logging planned for Kananaskis was overwhelmingly successful. Hundreds,close to a thousand, letters were sent to government and industry. They know we’re concerned about the impact logging will have on a highly valued natural resource. The government has to consider economic, social and environmental factors and they must work within a framework of laws and policies that govern who has access to Kananaskis and what they can do there. Three government ministries control access to Kananaskis; the Environment, Community Development and Sustainable Resources.
Logging is but one tree in a forest of issues that falls under the umbrella of land use in Kananaskis, all along the foothills and across the province. It’s time to look at the forest beyond the trees. We need to begin a discussion that will involve many stakeholders. They include: recreation, tourism, agriculture, forestry, energy, mining, entertainment, municipalities, land owners and aboriginals.
Many organizations and associations have staked out their positions. The Alberta LiberalCaucus and the Canada West Foundation have position papers on land use strategy. The government has preliminary plans and projects in place to address the issue of appropriate land use planning.
Across Alberta innumerable issues come into play, but one thing seems clear; the vast majority of Albertans want to protect their natural heritage and this applies to Kananaskis in particular. The Elbow Valley is the most popular recreation area in the province. It is also a critical source of water for the city of Calgary. Protect it.
We need to participate in this process. Whether you are concerned about the environment, recreation or the economy, you need information that can help you form opinions that will guide your actions.
Support the Liberal opposition who are raising the issue in the legislature during question period. Ask the Progressive Conservative leadership candidates about their concern for protecting the Kananaskis wilderness and Calgary’s water supply.