Thursday, October 31, 2013

Can Alberta save the South Saskatchewan Watershed?

David McIntyre, Letter to the Editor

Throughout the grasslands and forested headwaters of southern Alberta, Albertans have, for decades, witnessed an ever-accelerating tide of rampant degradation. All across this iconic, world-class landscape, heritage values have been eroded.

Five years ago the Government of Alberta recognized the wholesale loss of cherished and intrinsic virtue and promised action.

The government's recent release of a draft South Saskatchewan Regional Plan reveals its tide-turning vision. This draft is full of hope and good cheer. It defines a "diverse, healthy, vibrant and prosperous region," a "thriving place that offers a wide range of opportunities."

But what does the plan actually do to achieve its stated objectives? Looking beneath the proposed protection of selected mountain tops, the plan fails to save watersheds, or salvage the land's sliding biodiversity.

Can the government resurrect its stated objective, rewrite the plan and save this treasured landscape, or will the degradation continue? Will threatened westslope cutthroat trout and grizzly bears be required to climb to the summits of a handful of "protected" peaks in order to live in tomorrow's Alberta?

The current plan represents a small step for man, a giant sidestep for the Province of Alberta. Instead of embracing landscape values and implementing a plan that saves them for future generations, the current draft amounts to a false embrace and a cryptic, but lethal, kiss of death. And nowhere would this be felt more profoundly than the forested headwaters of the Rocky Mountains.

Alberta's world-renowned heritage landscapes are in peril, and the clock is ticking. This is no time for empty words. It's no time for plans that lack substance. This is the day—and the opportunity—for Alberta to bring meaningful leadership to the table. This is the day to turn the tide and began to restore integrity throughout the headwaters of the South Saskatchewan.


  1. Anonymous1/11/13

    A Public Input Session will take place on Tuesday, November 26 at the Pincher Creek Community Hall from 4:30-7:30pm.
    I encourage everyone to show up and voice your concerns!

  2. Anonymous2/11/13

    I read most of Mr. McIntyre's lTE's and don't agree with most of his opinion's. This is know exception. The rampant degradation that he talkes about is mostly from Mother Nature. IE the floods of the last 10 and other years as well as Major forest fire. It wasn't Logging, off roading, camping, or Oil and Gas that was to blame. It was mother nature. The currant draft plan takes into account this. Also the artical stated threatened grizzy's. There was a study of grizzly bears hair samples this past spring. It was found the the grizz population is much higher then anyone has thought. It was done by hair sampeling and DNA. Trout are having a hard time yes, but they get flooded out every few years. This is as much a cause as everything else combined. There are parts of the draft plan that I don't like as well. I think more areas shoud have been opend up to the public that has already been closed with gates etc. I think if more money was spent on enforcement of the rules and the people that abuse the area. that the draft plan laid will be fine. Like most deals, if everyone walks away not completely happy, it is probably a deal that can be lived with.

  3. Anonymous2/11/13

    To add to Anonymous's reply The grizzly study was from 2012 and the study found "122 unique individual grizzly bears - 72 males and 50 females. This number represents a minimum number of grizzly bears in the study area" of SW Alberta. Certain individual enviromental groups were trying to say there were as little as 7 Grizzly's from Waterton park to Banff. So don't believe the gloom and doom from from enviromental groups. They seem to make grandiose statments and ignore scientific studys. They want to blame humans for everything. Landscapes are not in peril. No kiss of death. The area will still be there in the future it won't dissapear. And future generations will be able to go there and enjoy it.

  4. Anonymous2/11/13

    When areas are closed the result is that more people are forced in to other areas, resulting in increased pressure. There are many areas that are now closed that make no sense. Just who owns this land?

  5. Anonymous14/11/13

    This is just a plan to make more money for the government. I live in this area and can tell you most of the issues stem from Mother Nature herself. The grizzly population is thriving and the fishing has actually been amazing the past couple years. We have noticed the animals are in very healthy shape we have a resident moose that looks amazing. our wild turkey and elk heard has increased over the years. The area is not being threatened by Recreational use in fact the area is actually thriving! This area was voted in the Snoriders magazine as top 3 most desired area in Canada that's a big honor when going up against revelstoke, golden, whistler and other areas. The enviromentalists are very 1 tract mind and cant see the good in this they just see the bad! and for the most they have never ever been out here to see it they just hear scare tactics over the internet and think our grizzlies and trout are extinct and oil and gas and logging is destroying the world well its not! I'm very unhappy with the fact the government is trying to take our right to use crown land for recreational activities its why I moved back here from BC was to get away from al the BS closures that the enviromentalists are putting in place to line there pockets!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Comments are moderated before being published. Please be civil.

Infinite Scroll