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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Livingstone Landowners Guild calls for OHV restrictions to protect SW Alberta land and water


Livingstone Landowners Guild

The Livingstone Landowners are a group of private property owners in the upper Oldman River drainage. We include ranchers, acreage-owners, small business operators and others who work hard to be good stewards of our property and to protect the interests of the many landholders whose efforts keep the world-class landscape on both sides of Alberta’s Cowboy Trail — Highway 22 — teeming with wildlife and rich in scenic beauty.

Along with other Alberta landowner groups, conservation groups and individuals, the LLG recently signed a communique to the Alberta government (attachment 1) calling for more responsible management of motorized recreation on the public lands that lie upstream from, and often immediately adjacent to, our members’ private holdings. This position aligns closely with values held widely by citizens and local governments in our region as reflected consistently in public opinion surveys (attachment 2).

Although motorized recreation is enjoyed by less than 5% of Alberta’s population, it has vastly disproportionate effects on the quality of our native vegetation, community watersheds, fisheries, wildlife and recreational opportunities for the much larger number of Albertans who enjoy public lands on foot and horseback. More than thirty years of virtually no effective management of this activity has resulted in deeply-rutted landscapes, badly silted streams, spreading infestations of noxious weeds that thrive on disturbance, and conflict with other users and neighbouring landholders. A culture of vandalism and entitlement has developed among a significant minority of motorized users that makes enforcement of existing rules difficult and causes stress and safety fears for many other land users.

Specific concerns that our members have include:

  • trespass of motorized off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on private land and grazing lease, sometimes involving cut fences or gates left open that allow livestock to escape.
  • disturbance and stress to domestic cattle on public land grazing permit areas
  • displacement of wildlife like elk and bears from heavily travelled public forest lands onto adjacent private lands where conflicts can result
  • weed infestations that spread from damaged public land soils into carefully-managed native rangelands on our properties, especially along streams
  • reduced groundwater recharge because of rapid drainage of runoff down numerous unplanned and poorly laid out OHV trails. This not only puts essential well water supplies at risk, it increases spring flooding and reduces the summer flows of water in small, but essential streams that rural communities and native fish and wildlife rely upon.
  • increased wear and tear on area roads from OHV-laden trailers hauled behind private vehicles day after day; local residents are the ones taxed to pay for the increased maintenance costs
The rural community in our southwestern Alberta area has proven itself to be committed to careful stewardship of native rangeland and riparian areas. Native wildlife that is considered threatened in other areas — species like ferruginous hawk, long-billed curlew, badger and grizzly bear — thrive in many parts of our area where the land is cared for. Private property owners have worked with land trusts to permanently protect the conservation values of over 60,000 acres of private land in the region. This represents over $100 million in land value in which the province has invested approximately $17 million. Many members work with organizations like Cows and Fish to restore and protect riparian health. All this private and community work and commitment is put at risk by the failure of the Alberta government to effectively limit and manage motorized recreation on adjacent public land.

The Livingstone Landowners Guild believes that OHV recreation should be limited to those parts of Alberta’s public lands not reserved as parks or classified as Critical Wildlife or Prime Protection areas under the Eastern Slopes Policy, and should be prohibited in areas critical to the survival of threatened species like the Westslope Cutthroat trout. In the places where OHV use can be permitted, motorized vehicles should be restricted to a few properly designed trails that minimize surface runoff and erosion.

A much more effective and aggressive enforcement program needs to be put in place immediately to deter vandalism. Protection and enforcement would also demonstrate the government’s respect for the efforts of responsible trail users and neighbouring land holders who demonstrate commitment to land and watershed health by choosing to restrain their own behaviour and choices.

~

Below:
  • Communiqué from Eastern Slopes Today and Tomorrow Workshop December 4 2015, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Summary of Recent Reports on Community and General Public Views Relevant to Land Use
  • Planning in the Porcupine Hills (Compiled by Cheryl Bradley, February 2016)
~

Communiqué from Eastern Slopes Today and Tomorrow Workshop
December 4 2015, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Key Principles:
  1. Healthy watersheds on Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Eastern Slopes are essential to the economy, health, and wellbeing of Albertans.
  2. There is abundant evidence that the watersheds of Alberta’s Eastern Slopes are already severely damaged from the combined effects of high-intensity industrial and recreational development, including off highway vehicles (OHVs).
  3. Restoration and protection of our source water and watersheds in the Eastern Slopes is of paramount priority.
  4. Permitted uses of the Eastern Slopes watersheds must be supported by the best available science to demonstrate that they are harmless to watershed integrity.

Protection of Alberta's Eastern Slopes

A round table of scientists and conservationists took place in Calgary on December 4, 2015. We resolved to appeal to the Government of Alberta to meaningfully protect Albertans’ water security and the future sustainability of our parks and public lands.

The greater public in Alberta has been increasingly frustrated by the failure of past governments to exercise oversight and sustainable management of our public lands. Albertans have long advocated for the protection of our watersheds and wildlife. There are several Policies and Acts of Legislation that reflect this priority. A Policy for Resource Management of the Eastern Slopes (1984) declared that “the highest priority in the overall management of the Eastern Slopes is placed on watershed management”. The Alberta government’s 2008 Land- Use Framework also emphasized the watershed value of forests: “Historically, watershed and recreation were deemed the priority uses of the Eastern Slopes. These priorities should be confirmed, and sooner rather than later.”In addition, the Public Lands Act, Section 54(1)(d) states that “no person shall cause, permit or suffer the doing of any act on public land that may injuriously affect watershed capacity”.

The Eastern Slopes consist of mountains and foothills along the eastern portion of the Rocky Mountains and contain watersheds which are the source of drinking water for the majority of Albertans. Healthy watersheds are valued and protected in policy because Albertans understand the numerous benefits they provide us. Healthy watersheds buffer effects of climate change, moderate flow to reduce flooding and to supply water in drought, recharge groundwater resources, provide critical fisheries habitat, and supply essential ecosystem services such as clean air, water, and soil (Kennedy and Wilson 2009). The majority of Albertans (94%) agree that wilderness is important because it helps to preserve plant and animal species. There is also overwhelming support (92%) for wilderness areas, which contribute to better air and water quality (The Praxis Group 2015).

Westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, Athabasca rainbow trout, all listed as "threatened" under Alberta’s Wildlife Act, as well as mountain whitefish and arctic grayling have all suffered major population declines due to decades of inaction and excessive linear disturbance on the landscape.

In recent decades there has been a proliferation of OHV activity on the Eastern Slopes, which has largely gone unmanaged on our public lands. OHV use results in increased soil compaction, proliferation of invasive species, increased habitat fragmentation, and increased runoff of sediment into streams which negatively impacts water quality and fish habitat (Ouren et al. 2007). Although OHV use is widespread throughout Alberta, only six percent of the population participates in motorized recreation (The Praxis Group 2015). This is in direct contrast to the majority of Albertans that depend on the Eastern Slopes for their drinking water.

Actions Required to Protect Alberta's Eastern Slopes

By May 2016:

a) To comply with the Eastern Slopes Policy (1984), a moratorium must be imposed on the use of off- highway vehicles (OHV) on existing trails within Prime Protection and Critical Wildlife Zones, as well as a moratorium on further OHV trail development in these Zones.

b) Permanent closure and decommissioning of all trails and roads must be implemented where westslope cutthroat trout critical habitat exists. There must be adherence to the westslope cutthroat trout recovery strategy and critical habitat protection order.

c) No OHVs allowed within Eastern Slopes protected areas1, due to the predominance of Prime Protection and Critical Wildlife Zones in the higher elevations and critical habitat for threatened native fish in thevalley bottoms.

By September 2016:

a) A Branch within Operations be established within Alberta Environment and Parks dedicated to the management of recreational use of public lands.

Priority Actions for the Management of Alberta's Eastern Slopes

Trail Development and Use
  • Motorized recreation is a land use that is incompatible with the Prime Protection and Critical Wildlife Zones as identified within the Eastern Slopes Policy. The Minister must uphold this policy and disallow all OHV trail development and use within those Prime Protection and Critical Wildlife Zones. This intent is echoed in the

Public Lands Administration Regulation, section 184(1), which continues to assert the Minister's authority to "restrict or prohibit, for any specified period of time, entry into all or any part of the lands within a public land use zone".
  • OHV use should be considered and regulated as a formal land use in Alberta. Treating OHVs as a land-use requires their trails to be considered in linear density footprints and future land use planning.
  • OHV use must be denied except where explicitly permitted. Authorized use may be given only when the best available science shows that watershed, wildlife, and ecosystem integrity is not compromised by such use.
  • The public has the right to use public land for recreation only to the extent that such use does not compromise watershed, wildlife, and ecosystem integrity.

Linear Densities

  • Linear densities are thresholds beyond which certain wildlife cannot persist in an area. For example, the maximum linear density for high quality grizzly bear habitat is currently recognized as 0.6 km/km2 (Government of Alberta 2008). Linear densities even lower than this are required to maintain bear populations and to sustain Alberta's native fish populations in the Eastern Slopes.
  • All linear disturbances must be considered when measuring linear density, not just roads.
1 ‘Protected areas’ here refer to Willmore Wilderness Park, Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Wildland Provincial Parks and Provincial Parks.

  • Linear density must be kept far less than 0.6 km/km2 for all trail and road networks. Low trail densities not only minimize wildlife impacts but they enhance the wilderness experience of users. Linear densities currently significantly exceed 0.6 km/km2 over large areas of the Eastern Slopes (see Figure 1 for example).
  • Certain watersheds should be kept free of roads and vehicle trails. Research shows that there is seven to ten times the sediment produced by erosion from OHV activity in watersheds where OHV activity is high (Clearwater Environmental Consultants 2006). This seriously influences water quality and aquatic habitat. Management decisions must take into account the cumulative effects of all activities on the landscape including forestry, oil and gas, and OHVs.
  • Decommissioned trails and other linear disturbances must be allowed to regenerate, or in many cases, will require active restoration.
Enforcement
  • Enforcement will motivate responsible use of our public lands and is an effective means of educating the public.
  • Increased enforcement on public lands is necessary to uphold trail closures and to manage trails designated for OHV use.
  • Enforcement capabilities must be returned to land agents including fish and wildlife, public lands, parks, water, and forestry.
Westslope Cutthroat Trout
  • The Species at Risk Act (SARA) designates westslope cutthroat trout as a threatened species.
  • The Critical Habitat Order, issued on December 2 2015, triggers the prohibition under subsection 58(1) of SARA against destroying any part of the critical habitat of the westslope cutthroat trout, Alberta populations.
  • Permanent closure of all trails and roads that have damaged, are damaging, or threaten to damage, westslope cutthroat trout critical habitat is necessary to adhere to the westslope cutthroat trout recovery strategy and critical habitat protection order.
  • No new development (e.g. roads, trails, transmission lines, pipelines, well sites, buildings, fences, bridges) should be allowed in areas that may damage critical habitat.
Provincial Parks and Protected Areas
  • Alberta’s Provincial Parks Act states that "Parks are established, and are to be maintained a) for the preservation of Alberta's natural heritage, b) for the conservation and management of flora and fauna, c) for the preservation of specified areas, landscapes and natural features and objects in them that are of [...] cultural, [...] ecological importance, and [...] e) to ensure their lasting protection for the benefit of present and future generations". Land uses and permitted activities must reflect this mandate.
  • OHVs are a land-use which is incompatible with the purpose of Provincial Parks. What is allowed (and prohibited) in Provincial Parks must be upheld in the new Castle Provincial Park, as well as in all future and existing Provincial Parks. Allowing OHVs in the Castle Provincial Park will set a dangerously destructive precedent. The current linear densities within the proposed parks already far exceed any scientifically established threshold for protection of fish and wildlife (Figure 2). Closure and subsequent restoration of these disturbances is urgently required.
  • OHV use must not be permitted in Provincial Parks or other Eastern Slopes protected areas, due to the predominance of Prime Protection and Critical Wildlife Zones in the higher elevations and critical habitat for threatened native fish in the valley bottoms. Motorized recreation is a conflicting use in protected areas, based on public values, science, and inherent wilderness values.
The principles, concerns, and requests addressed in this communiqué are endorsed by the following:

  • Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC) 
  • Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA)
  • Bert Riggall Environmental Foundation (BREF) 
  • Bragg Creek Environmental Coalition 
  • (BCEC) Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition (CCWC)
  • Clint Docken, Environmental Lawyer (Bragg Creek) 
  • Glen Feys (Spruce Grove)
  • Kathy Feys (Nordegg)
  • Lorne Fitch, Professional Biologist (Lethbridge) 
  • Sharlene Fritz, Environmental Advocate (Calgary)
  • Dr. Brian L. Horejsi, Speak Up For Wildlife Foundation
  • Judy Huntley (Lundbreck)
  • Art Jackson (Jasper)
  • Lorri Jankowski-Arfndt (Nordegg)
  • Mike Judd, Artist, Guide and Outfitter, President, Timberwolf Wilderness Society
  • Arlene Kwasniak, Professor Emerita of Law
  • Peter Lee, Biologist-Geographer
  • Eric Lloyd (Bragg Creek) Sid Marty (Willow Valley)
  • David Mayhood, Aquatic Ecologist & President, FWR Freshwater Research Limited
  • David McNeill (Pincher Creek) 
  • Livingstone Landowners Guild 
  • Gordon Petersen, 
  • Photographer Vivian Pharis, 
  • Ecologist Charlie Russell, 
  • Naturalist Wendy Ryan (Pincher Creek)
  • Dr. David Schindler, Professor Emeritus (Edmonton)
  • Dr. Richard Schneider (Tofield)
  • Dave Sheppard (Lethbridge)
  • Peter Sherrington (Beaver Mines)
  • Jim Stelfox, Fisheries Biologist (Calgary)
  • Southern Alberta Group for the Environment (SAGE) 
  • Stewards of Alberta's Protected Areas Association (SAPAA) 
  • Stop Ghost Clearcut
  • Dr. David Swann, Leader of the Alberta Liberal Party
  • Jacques Thouin (Beaver Mines)
  • Kevin Van Tighem (Canmore) 
  • James Tweedie (Pincher Creek) 
  • Dr. Joe Vipond, M.D. (Calgary)
  • Cliff Wallis, Professional Biologist (Calgary)
  • West Athabasca Bioregional Society
  • Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) 
  • Marla Zapach (Nordegg)
Literature Referenced:
  • Clearwater Environmental Consultants. 2006. Water Quality Study of Waiparous Creek, Fallentimber Creek and Ghost River. Prepared for Alberta Environment.
  • Driedzic, A. 2015. Managing recreation on public land: How does Alberta compare? Environmental Law Centre. Government of Alberta. 2008. Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan 2008-2013. Prepared by the Alberta Grizzly
  • Bear Recovery Team.
  • Kwasniak, A.J. 2015. A Legal Guide to Non-Private Lands in Alberta pp.119-120: Offences and prohibitions and unauthorized use or damage to public lands Canadian Institute of Resources Law.
  • Kennedy, M. and J. Wilson. 2009. Natural Credit: Estimating the Value of Natural Capital in the Credit River
  • Watershed. The Pembina Institute.
  • Lee, P. 2015a. Map prepared by Peter Lee using human footprint data from the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. July 2015. ABMI Wall-to-Wall Human Footprint (HF) Inventory.
  • Lee, P. 2015b. Map prepared by Peter Lee using the following data: 1) For logging cutblocks: Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. Updated July 2015. ABMI Wall-to-Wall Human Footprint (HF) Inventory. 2) For designated motorized trails: Alberta Government Castle Special Management Area. Updated September 4
  • 2015. Winter and Summer Maps of the area. 3) For linear disturbances in addition to designated motorized trails: Lee PG and M Hanneman. 2010. Linear disturbances, access densities, and Grizzly Bear Core Security Areas within the Castle Area Forest Land Use Zone, Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta: Global Forest Watch Canada 10th Anniversary Publication #10. 36 pp.
  • Ouren, D.S., Haas, C., Melcher, C.P., Stewart, S.C., Ponds, P.D., Sexton, N.R., Burris, L., Fancher, T., and Z.H.
  • Bowen. 2007. Environmental effects of off-highway vehicles on Bureau of Land Management lands: A literature synthesis, annotated bibliographies, extensive bibliographies, and internet resources: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 2007-1353, 225 p.
  • The Praxis Group. 2015. Albertans' Values and Attitudes toward Recreation and Wilderness: Final Report.
  • Commissioned by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Northern and Southern Alberta
  • Chapters.
  • Summary of Recent Reports on Community and General Public Views Relevant to Land Use
  • Planning in the Porcupine Hills

Compiled by Cheryl Bradley for the Porcupine Hills Coalition, February 2016

There has been extensive public and community-based consultation around land use priorities and management for Alberta’s southern foothills, including the Porcupine Hills. Consultations were undertaken through the Southern Foothills Study, the Southern Foothills Community Stewardship Initiative, the MD of Pincher Creek Community Values Assessment, the Oldman Watershed Council Headwaters Action Plan, and the CPAWS Survey of Albertans’ Values and Attitudes toward Recreation and Wilderness.

These consultations were supported by a wide range of stakeholders, including municipal and provincial governments. We would strongly encourage the provincial government to incorporate the learnings from these into their planning considerations for the Porcupine Hills. To not do so would risk missing valuable information but more importantly risk ignoring the views and values of those communities and individuals most closely connected to the Porcupine Hills.

Southern Foothills Study


The decade-long Southern Foothills Study (2005-2015) was initiated by local ranchers and expanded to include municipal and provincial government, environmental and conservation groups, industry, recreational users and interested individuals in a common purpose: “how to protect and sustain our iconic foothills landscape, its unique ecology, and the ecosystem services it provides”. The Porcupine Hills area is a central part of the study area.

The Southern Foothills Study was supported financially by the MDs of Willow Creek, Foothills, Ranchland and Pincher Creek, the Alberta Land Use Framework, the Oldman Watershed Council and several landowner and conservation organizations as well as individuals. Process and findings are documented in two reports available on the website of the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society:
  • The Changing Landscape of the Southern Alberta Foothills (June 2007)
  • A Future Worth Protecting: Beneficial Management Practices and the Southern Alberta Foothills (March 2015)
The ALCESR Group assessed the cumulative effects of past and projected future land use trends on water quality, water quantity, native fescue grasslands and grizzly bears (selected as an indicator species). It concluded that the quality of the environment as shown by these indicators had been reduced significantly during the past century and deterioration is projected to continue into the future unless there are changes to current policy and usage. Even with application of beneficial management practices, the trend lines will continue downward, although on a less steep trajectory.

As part of the Southern Foothills Study, the Praxis GroupTM, in late 2006, undertook a survey of public attitudes of 600 individuals at seven meetings in the planning area and through a random sample telephone survey of 800 respondents in Calgary, Lethbridge and more than 20 communities in or directly adjacent to the study area. Results of the surveys are documented in two reports also available on the website of the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society (www.salts-landtrust.org/sfs/sfs_reporting.html):

Southern Foothills Study Written Survey Results (Praxis Research, February 2007)

Southern Foothills Study Telephone Survey Results (Praxis Research, February 2007) The surveys found that a majority of both rural and urban dwellers view protection of watershed as a planning priority for the southern foothills. In a ranking of concerns about nine features of the landscape the area of greatest concern was reduced water quality in rivers, streams, springs and aquifers and loss of wildlife habitat. Loss of area for recreation was of significantly less concern.

The Southern Foothills Study concluded that limits need to be placed on the cumulative effects of land use activities contributing to environmental degradation and recommended that a dominant or priority land use designation for headwaters conservation be applied to the Eastern Slopes. “The bottom line is that our society will be happier, healthier and more prosperous if we protect this landscape.”

Southern Foothills Community Stewardship Initiative – Values and Voices

Using the Southern Foothills Study as a starting point, the Southern Foothills Community Stewardship Initiative in 2010 and 2011 further engaged the region’s citizens in defining values that would inform land-use planning and management in Alberta’s southern foothills, including the Porcupine Hills. The Southern Foothills Community Stewardship Initiative was led by the Pekisko Group and the Chinook Institute for Community Stewardship. Support was provided by the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Government of Alberta – Community Initiatives Program, M.D. of Foothills, 


M.D. of Ranchlands and the Wilburforce Foundation.

Eight community forums, organized by a professional facilitator and attended by approximately 300 people, were held across Alberta’s southern foothills. Conversations focused on what residents value, benefits provided by the landscape and how to maintain ecological integrity of Alberta’s southern foothills. The results of these in-depth conversations are presented in a report available on the website of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation (http://aref.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/values-and-voices.pdf):


Values and Voices: Stewardship Priorities for the Southern Alberta Foothills (November 2011)

The values expressed as vitally important to consider in future planning relate to water security, traditional lifestyle and culture, aesthetics, wildlife, opportunities for low impact recreation, clean air, food production and the ethic of stewardship. Participants’ perceptions of essential ecological goods and services and cultural benefits provided by the foothills landscape were defined. Recommendations are to integrate land and water planning, protect the watershed, manage for connected landscapes, develop stewardship capacity, set thresholds for managing cumulative effects and develop economic incentives for stewardship. “The bottom line is… acting with respect for the local people and the landscape that local people value will help to ensure both the long-term prosperity of those who live in the Southern Foothills, and the continued provision of the essential ecological services and cultural benefits that this area offers to Albertans.”

Community Values Assessment for the M.D. of Pincher Creek

In 2011, the Southwest Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative in collaboration with the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 contracted the Praxis GroupTM to conduct an assessment that would help the MD consider community values more effectively in decision- making and develop better practices for land use and land management. Social, economic and environmental aspects of community life in the MD of Pincher Creek were considered. The assessment included a random sample telephone survey of MD residents, a series of small group discussions with representatives of key economic and socio-cultural sectors and stakeholder groups and a final session with key interests to validate the initial findings and discuss next steps.

The results of the assessment are provided in a report available on the website of the Southern Alberta Sustainable Community Initiative (www.sasci.ca/community-values-assessment/):


Community Values Assessment for the M.D. of Pincher Creek No. 9 (March 2012)

Both survey and group session participants identified priority values related to the theme of environmental conservation, including protecting the natural environment, conserving and protecting water resources, practicing sustainable agriculture and maintaining natural wildlife and fish populations. Respondents strongly supported setting aside land in an undisturbed state for habitat protection. Having access to a range of outdoor recreation opportunities is generally agreed to be a valued benefit, particularly for non-motorized recreation. There was opposition to increased opportunities for motorized recreation (OHVs, dirt bikes, etc.) and concern about enforcing appropriate use of public land.

Oldman Watershed Council Headwaters Action Plan – Source to Tap


In 2012 and 2013, Water Matters and the Oldman Watershed Council (OWC) led a community- based initiative to engage people in sharing their knowledge and priorities to further good stewardship in the headwaters. There were a total of 17 community conversations guided by professional facilitators that engaged 350 participants in town, city and country halls.

Results of the community dialogues are presented in a report available on the OWC website (http://oldmanbasin.org/files/4613/8429/2152/Source_to_Tap_Summary_Report_Nov2013.pdf):

Source to Tap: Community Conversations on Headwaters Health and Stewardship in the

Oldman River Basin, Summary of Community Dialogues (November 2013)

Activities or factors perceived to affect headwaters health in a negative way include cumulative effect of land uses, as evidenced by increased linear disturbances, and recreation activitiesalong and in water courses (camping along water courses, motorized vehicles) that are affecting water quality. Key stewardship requirements and opportunities identified included considering watershed health as a primary value in land use decision-making and managing recreation to reduce negative effects on ecosystem integrity and water quality.

Survey of Albertans’ Values and Attitudes toward Recreation and Wilderness

In 2015, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Southern and Northern Alberta chapters commissioned The Praxis GroupTM to survey Albertans about their recreation activity and their behaviour, attitudes and values related to nature and outdoor recreation. Results of the random sample telephone survey of 1300 interviewees are presented in a report available on the CPAWS website (http://cpaws- southernalberta.org/upload/CPAWS_FINAL_REPORT_2015.pdf):

Albertans’ Values and Attitudes toward Recreation and Wilderness: Final Report (September 2014)

The findings clearly show that the large majority of Albertans are taking part in some form of outdoor recreation (76%). The results also show Albertans support land being set aside for wilderness and protection (94%) and they prefer non-motorized recreation (67%). Most Alberta campers choose designated campgrounds over random camping (77%).

In the South Saskatchewan Region, there is high levels of participation in hiking on trails (63%) in summer and fall, likely partly due to the extensive inner city trail networks in Calgary and Lethbridge. Only 2% of residents participate in off-road motorcycling or OHV use in summer and fall and 3% in winter and spring. In winter and spring, about one in five residents of the South Saskatchewan Region participate in cross country skiing (14%) or snowshoeing (18%) and far fewer participate in snowmobiling (2%).

5 comments:

  1. It shows we have 31 people belonging to multiple organizations. They are trying to make themselves sound like they are thousands.When in fact they are all the same people in multiple organizations. In a province of 4.2 million. They say that 5% (210,000)are ohv users I am thinking that is the # of ohv's registered in Alberta. But doesn't account for the fact that most of the people have a partner and or kids that ride them or with them, especially in side by sides that can seat up to 4 persons.So that 5% could be closer to 15%-20% or (840,000)people. When these conservation group members probably total less then 0.5%(21,000)(they have said they have 10s of thousands of members or supporters, but wont show their true individual #s).They belong to multiple groups to make it appear like there are all these members when it is actually the same people in multiple groups. It is always great when they show or quote these surveys to give percentages.But don't show how many people were in the survey.It could be 20 people they wont say because of the small # surveyed. When I am out on my ohv on the ohv trails, I see people hiking, biking,people on horse back, dirt bikes,quads,SXS,skis,snowmobiles and snow shoes)And they are welcome to share the trails with me. I am glad that Albertans are getting to enjoy THEIR lands, the way they choose to. Not the way an extremely small minority want to tell the majority how to enjoy it.

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    1. GR: And a vast majority of the people hiking, biking,people on horse back, dirt bikes,quads,SXS,skis,snowmobiles and snow shoes lack common courtesy, bush sense and respect for our lands. You can also see that ever weekend when the camping season starts.The entitled attitude shows just how bad we need these areas enforced. When you are going into the back country for some enjoyemtn and and are having to put out fires left unattended, clean up mountains of garbage and see the literal destruction well now I see the attitude behind it. Its mine and I can do whatever I please and no I am not a part of the guild.The minority are are asking not telling the majority to help preserve are lands or we are going to lose use to it and be stuck in paying campgrounds.You need a reality check and and aand adjust that attitude a little. Its not yours its ours.How about picking up a garbage can and a stick and help clean up your mentioned majorities mess every weekend? Until then well you are part of the problem.

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  2. When is the Voice going to realize that this is the same group of people(not people of the same way of thinking) But the same exact people that every week is calling to ban ohv's. They are just using a different organizational name. The voice keeps printing the same basic article, by the same exact people every week. I don't see in other media, the same article week after week.

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  3. Wow. A VERY powerful story. Well done, Livingstone Landowners Guild. And a big thank you.

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