In about two months the Alberta government will be releasing its draft of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. This will have a huge impact on the future of the wildlife, plants, and water resources of the headwaters. Naturalist, writer, and former superintendent of Banff National Park Kevin Van Tighem has started an online petition asking the government to “Treat our Alberta Headwaters like the treasures they are.”
Kevin says, “Those responsible for finalizing the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan are under a lot of pressure to protect the status quo for industrial-scale logging in the headwaters, and are being lobbied very aggressively by off-road vehicle users who want no restrictions on their activities. I believe we have a good Minister; I also believe she’s under a lot of pressure.”
Kevin adds, “Most of us likely remember – I certainly do – when the foothills and Front Ranges were like paradise — before they were brought down to their current state by multiple-abuse. The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan will have quasi-regulatory status and is meant to be a strategic roadmap to our next fifty years. It’s really important that those who believe we can do better for our headwaters – the forests, creeks, meadows, trout, grizzlies and wild places that yield all the water that comes down the rivers to where we all live – make themselves heard.”
Here is the text of the petition:
A century of clear cut logging, oil and gas development and out-of-control off-road vehicle abuse has left the headwaters of the South Saskatchewan River fragmented and scarred. Natural river flows are 12% lower than in the mid twentieth century. Climate change will only make things worse.
Alberta is about to release a South Saskatchewan regional land use plan that was prepared with wide citizen consultation. But special interest groups with a stake in business-as-usual want to ensure it contains no limits on off-road abuse, increases clear cut logging, and promotes more development.
Those who care about healthy landscapes, clean rivers and future water security need a chance to inform the government that they support a plan that keeps the mountains and foothills green and healthy by establishing new parks, restricting off-road vehicles to official trails, replacing clear cutting with restoration logging, and repairing landscapes damaged by past industrial and motorized abuse.
Healthy intact headwaters don’t just produce more and better water – they yield better fishing and hunting, more secure and productive habitat for elk, grizzlies and native trout, and the aesthetic and ecological qualities that yield the finest of recreational environments.
If you would like to support this cause and sign this petition, go to the petition website, and share this with friends and family.