Friday, September 23, 2016

Wildlife needs room in the Castle - CCWC

Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition - Global Forest Watch Canada's September 20, 2016 report highlights how human disturbance has significantly reduced wildlife habitat in the proposed Castle Parks. The report found there is only 1.54km2 of secure Grizzly Bear habitat in the provincial park and confirms that all westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout critical habitats in both proposed parks are located in areas of high human disturbance. This level of human disturbance exceeds any acceptable thresholds for wildlife.

"High quality habitat is essential for maintaining grizzly bears and native trout species in our parks. If we don’t secure this habitat, we may not have these threatened species in Alberta in the future," says Andy Hurly, Vice President of the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition. "Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use must be stopped; it continues to damage this critical landscape and prevents the recovery we need to support fish and wildlife.”

Much of Alberta's remaining westslope cutthroat trout habitat is in the two proposed parks. Linear disturbances such as cutblocks and seismic lines impact trout habitat even if they are not being used for motorized recreation, because these disturbances contribute to increased water temperature and sedimentation.

"The Alberta Government must do its part in recovering protected species," says Joanna Skrajny, Alberta Wilderness Association Conservation Specialist. "We have long maintained that restoration is urgently required in the Castle region and must become the focus of management planning. The GFWC report is one more critical evaluation confirming what local advocates and scientists have said for years."

In September 2015, the Government of Alberta announced plans to designate the Castle Wilderness Area as a Castle Provincial Park and a Castle Wildland Provincial Park. Management planning for the Castle Parks is presently underway.

For a copy of the report, click here

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