Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Throw a lifeline to the Oldman

David McIntyre, Letter to the Editor - The crushing and erosive pace of unrelenting, ever-accelerating OHV landscape degradation must be stopped today. An honest prescription for headwaters salvation is required in order to address the land’s buckling, constantly cascading state of health. I delivered the preceding message to government ministries and managers of Alberta’s public lands more than thirty years ago. And, yes, I’ve written repeatedly to reiterate the same burning need.

What’s happened during the past three decades? The pace at which the headwaters of the Oldman watershed is being destroyed has accelerated. It’s done this by leaps and bounds.

Today, the public land that surrounds me, scarred and bleeding, can no longer tolerate more damage. It cries for battlefield triage.

I live on a thrust-faulted, topographically tortured Crown of the Continent landscape. Here in the headwaters of the Oldman, land-use planning is in progress. Meaningful change must occur. Beyond my front door, the waterways, degraded in a wholesale way by decades of OHV abuses and other forms of maltreatment, are muddy, choked with sediment. They’re failing to sustain Alberta’s native trout.

I know that I speak for countless Albertans when I report witnessing constant decline in the land’s ecosystem health. I’ve lost every personal effort to reverse the situation. And now, as a general rule of conduct, I avoid the once-cherished public lands in my backyard to find, far from home, the peace, tranquility, and landscape integrity that, not long ago, was available at my doorstep.

Almost 90 percent of Albertans - they send a strong and unequivocal message—want more wilderness lands protected from development and damage.

I shed tears every time I revisit old and treasured haunts in the headwaters of the Oldman. It’s here, on the land I moved to so that I could embrace it on a daily basis, that I’ve endured the painful and rutted imprint of government-sanctioned abuse. Unfathomably, and yet undeniably, it's been allowed to occur. I’ve witnessed watershed and ecological losses that are nothing short of staggering.

I read, recently, words written by Gary Clark, president of the Crowsnest Pass Quad Squad. What struck me as profound, was his mention of his time in this community (Crowsnest Pass). The stated time: five years. In other words, Mr. Clark arrived after the Oldman’s waterways had already been severed by thousands - literally thousands - of OHV stream crossings, … and after native trout—identified species-at-risk - had been reduced to a small fraction of their former range. Think about that for a long minute.

I step forward armed with the belief that meaningful headwaters restoration can occur, and I do it with the vision that future generations can experience, here in the headwaters of the Oldman, a brand of watershed health and integrity that OHV advocate Gary Clark has never seen.

It’s time for everyone to step into the mud. It’s time for everyone to find truth, accept responsibility, and pursue—and contribute to—a responsible course of corrective action.

Stand tall Alberta. Join me. It’s time to throw a lifeline to the Oldman.


  1. Anonymous22/2/17

    Mr. Mcintrye must have had coffee with Mr. Tweedie and decided to release their delusional tirades at the same time. OHV's are the enemy in both articles. A lot of people moved here for the OHV riding close to home, like Mr. Mcintrye did for what he wanted to do. Mr. Mcintrye stated that there have been severed waterways by thousands of stream crossing by OHV's. That is because he and his environmentalist friends wouldn't get out and help the OHV people putting in the bridges to prevent that. And Also I guess he forgets about the millions of animals that have crossed these waterways in the same amount of time. I guess we should ban all the animals from the area as well, that sounds like his kind of logic too. He should have been staying out of the mud and putting in bridges to help prevent this and accept the fact that he and his environmentalist friends could have been actively helping prevent damage, like the 80000 man hours that OHV uses did. instead of complaining about it, and not lifting a finger.

    1. Anonymous27/2/17

      Why does the above commenter feel that everyone else needs to come out and help to put in bridges that are only necessitated because of OHVs in the first place? No OHVs, no need to put in bridges. And the idea that animals crossing a stream have anywhere near the same amount of impact as an OHV is simply inane.

    2. What the? Damage animals do while crossing? Not even a debatable response anonymous. OMG.
      The desire to cause irreparable harm or damage to one of the worlds most beautiful places speaks volumes as to who we are dealing with here. I dont think this should even be a battle. The answer is simply... NO. No more OHV's! They did the damage without a care and now they have to pay for it, fun and games are over... Unfortunately ecosystems are paying a harsher price. That they are so ruthlessly destroyed for pleasure??? It is sick if you think about it. Disgusting actually.


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