What is a precious gem to one person may be another persons rock. When one defines precious, does the definition define the object or is the object being defined as precious is in the eyes of the beholder only? Even rocks, when viewed in the eye of certain beholders, is considered precious (for example our majestic Rocky Mountains are considered very precious gems). As Albertans, do we fully realize the treasures lying beneath our feet? One person may say we have pavement beneath our feet, another may say mud, another grass and yet another may say black gold. All would be correct and all would possibly miss the true beauty, which is Alberta, Is it the urban jungle we call cities, is it the small towns and communities that dot the rural countryside? Even though these are all part and parcel of what is under our feet and are all aspects of what would possibly be considered as precious gems. What do we have beneath our feet that we pass by every day and take for granted, but yet is a very precious gem to treasure and enjoy? In every community, along every highway and byway, is this precious gem being taken for granted, not only in Alberta but around the world? Here is a question to consider. In our homes and lives: would; what we consider as an empty space, be considered an opportunity to fill with something, in order to feel more comfortable with our lives? Would we consider open spaces as precious gems or places to fill in and clutter up at our whim? Our society has many open spaces that we have taken for granted and filled in with development, because we could.
After many years of living and working in an urban environment, this writer on the spur of the moment packed his bags and took a journey back in time, so to speak. A time when learning the basics in order to progress, was tantamount in our journey of development. Along that journey of development, what was once held in esteem and importance began to be taken for granted. Maybe not everyone is in that same boat, but a lot of us are! In every community, big or small, the word progress seems to denote taking what was once esteemed as ‘Paradise’ and paving it over or burying it under the guise of development and necessity. The term development is an interesting term, that denotes many themes, but the one main theme seems to be bury the past in order to develop the future. Why bury the past when our past heritage is what got us here in the first place? Why in our struggle to find ourselves does the new have to destroy the old? Here is a concept that may be new to some and that is: new supports and coexists with the old, all the while complimenting our heritage and our history in order to progress forward in a symbiotic relationship of urban and rural environments.
In our mad dash towards an unknown future, have we neglected our precious gems along the way?
There is a precious hidden gem called Waterton National Park located in the Southwest corner of Alberta. Nestled amongst the majestic Rocky Mountains and connected to Glacier National Park in the United States this UNESCO World Heritage site is a park that has maintained its rustic charm and heritage amongst the development crazed world. Waterton and Glacier form the Worlds First International Peace Park.
Since 1997, thanks to the vision of the National Conservancy of Canada and its many partners, along with the long-term commitment of area ranchers, more than 100 square kilometers (32,000/13,000 hectares) of this stunning landscape have been protected as conservation lands forever. It is great to see what people can and have accomplished, especially viewing the results that local farmers and ranchers have achieved, by getting involved to help preserve a very precious gem in our own back yard, by providing a buffer zone of easements around the park and extending the natural environment around this important part of our wondrous backyard..
Has anyone had the strength to fold and bend a rock without breaking it. Probably not a lot of us would be able to perform such a fantastic feat of prowess. There is a natural phenomenon that occurs in many parts of the world and in a couple of places in Alberta. One example of this, is located along the Lewis Overthrust in Waterton and Glacier National Peace Park. Take a close look at the following picture and you will see what looks like an ‘A’ in the lower middle of the picture. This picture was taken while standing on the Miss Waterton top deck during the lake shore cruise on Saturday June 9, 2012. the ‘A; is where the rock was folded without breaking.
There is one feature that maybe a lot of people are unaware of and that is the upside down mountain along the east side of Waterton Lake that is viewed by taking the wondrous Waterton-Glacier, lake shore cruise into the United States, provided by Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. With commentaries from their well versed crew, an enjoyable and informative trip will be had by all.
^ Picture taken on Saturday June 9, 2012 by the owner of Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. Ed Robinson, of three of us together at Goat Haunt United States. Two crew members: Chris Robinson and Ian Perry along with Rob Bernshaw, a very satisfied traveler, that is highly recommending this cruise for everyone visiting Waterton National Park now or in the future. The next picture is of sedimentary rock and part of the upside down mountain.
Now Back to the upside mountain, where the new compliments the old. With the wonder of tectonic plate movements, the new age rock, lifts up and supports the old age rock, for all to see and bask in the glorious heritage displayed. We need to take an example from nature, where the new embraces the old, by getting underneath and lifting up our heritage for the world to see and admire.
We as a society need to determine the true value of what we have and realize that open spaces are a required part of the well being and future progress of any civilization. Rather than pave over paradise with what is called development, why not leave nature to do development of its own, in order to compliment what society considers progress. The earth and its open spaces were here long before we arrived on this planet, and will be here long after we have left this earthly realm. We need to enjoy the precious gems beneath our feet, while we still have the opportunity to, and leave the open spaces in place in order to compliment any development that seems to be the mainstay of any society. Let us enjoy the natural development of our open spaces in order to be appreciative of the beauty and grandeur that is nature.
There is a possibility without the vigilant efforts of many individuals and organizations that are presently proactive towards preserving an important part of everyone’s lives, that we could lose the most precious gems beneath our feet. We need to take steps to get involved, if we are not involved already, by becoming more outspoken in efforts to inform and educate others around us, and within our communities, as to what we have and what we could lose, especially if we are taking what we have around us for granted.
The picture below is of Cameron Falls in Waterton Park. The next two pictures are of open spaces outside the park boundaries heading north on and to the west of Highway 6.
In closing why would we pave over paradise and put up a parking lot (as Joni Mitchell sang in her song Big Yellow Taxi, that was played and sang in concert 1970), without considering the ultimate consequences that would ensue? We can and need to live in harmony with nature and in doing so need to realize that a Coruscant type planet is not beneficial to the health and well being of us as individuals, or as society in general. The restorative and peaceful qualities, of the natural open spaces, the true precious gems beneath our feet. These gems are priceless in comparison to any parking lot that may pave over paradise, along our journey to the future. Our limited natural open spaces need to be preserved and maintained and is of the utmost importance to the future progress of our society. We can and must learn to live in harmony with the natural open spaces that we have been graciously blessed with. Let us in our individual journey towards the future, take a time out to be thankful and appreciative of what we may have been taking for granted, for so many years. It is not too late to take a moment to reflect on where we have been, where we are going and how or what we are going to do, to arrive at the end of our journey. At the end of the day and at the setting of the sun what do we want left behind to remember us by.
During the recent journey to Waterton, this writer had the distinct pleasure of listening to Chris Davis (intrepid editor of the Pincher Creek Voice) at the Fireside Lounge in the Bayshore Inn on Friday June 8, 2012. Chris performed an eclectic mix of music, much to the delight of the audience on hand.
Also, Jeanne Aldrich, current manager of Northland Lodge in Waterton has further information on a possible parking lot development in Waterton Park, close to Cameron Falls. Waterton Park as a UNESCO World Heritage site needs to be protected and preserved. Anyone interested in obtaining further information please contact her directly at: 403-859-2353, or email firstname.lastname@example.org