Thursday, March 30, 2017

AWA: Castle Parks a significant addition to Alberta’s protected areas

Alberta Wilderness Association - With the establishment of the boundaries for the two new Castle Parks, Alberta has achieved an important conservation goal, contributing an additional 1050 km2 to its protected landscapes. The two new parks will protect an area that contains the highest amount of biodiversity in Alberta outside of neighboring Waterton Lakes National Park. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) believes this protection recognizes how much Albertans value the Castle, along with their concerns and expectations for the very best management of our public lands throughout Alberta.

“The Castle wilderness is disproportionately significant for its conservation values given the high amount of biodiversity contained in a relatively small area,” says Joanna Skrajny, AWA Conservation Specialist. “It also contains important wildlife corridors and critical watershed areas. These watersheds are home to threatened native trout and provide roughly 30% of the water in the Oldman River. Given these values, it’s clear that protection of this area must take precedence over damaging land uses including motorized use.”

Decades of neglecting to deal with multiple land abuses has created an urgency for this government to deal with the lack of management on provincial public lands. For example, AWA estimates that more than 90% of Alberta’s provincial public lands are currently open to a wide variety of uses, including motorized recreation. Without provincial government leadership, we will continue to see the decline of important watersheds, wildlife habitat and unique landscapes.

“Outside of provincial parks and protected areas, we support safe and responsible use of motorized recreational vehicles on designated trails in appropriate areas that do not impact other recreational users, vegetation, water or wildlife,” Joanna adds. “Our failure to address the issue of the proliferation of motorized use on our public lands has resulted in widespread damage that has gone on far too long. Use of our public lands is a privilege, not a right.”


  1. Anonymous30/3/17

    It is most interesting how AWA skirts around oil and gas use as well as ranching and only attacks motorized vehicle use and wilderness camping, which is free for all Canadians, as it should be. The perspective on all of this is so skewed, one doesn't know where to start. How many gas wells release poisonous H2S into Castle? How many cattle graze this area? There are thousands of cattle and more gas wells than you could visit in one day. The fences around the gas wells have signs warning of poison gas, this is in our sensitive back country areas to boot. Some areas get visits almost daily from heavy duty trucks. So what AWA is saying, is they are OK with heavy duty trucks in the back country from SHELL oil, but not ok with my low pressure tire atv, designed to have a low impact on soft surfaces. They are saying that they are OK with thousands of cattle crapping and urinating in the watershed, but my little ATV is ruining the watershed? Are they completely mad? The other OHV users I know, practice "leave no trace", as do I. I leave my campsite better than how I found it every time. I am a hunter and a fisherman. I love the Castle. I imagine they are focusing on me, because I do not have millions of dollars to pay lawyers to defend my rights and attack their unrighteous accusations. This is going to sneak up on people, when the huge provincial park sign goes up and we are not allowed to put up outfitter tents and use our wild areas for traditional activities any longer. Do you all understand what is happening here? Canada was created by hunters and trappers. Now premiere "Nottingham" is going to keep us out of our own forest. The wildlife, trees and water will be government property only. Locals will not be allowed to practice generations of traditional Canadian woodsmen activities. I am a woodsman. I am not first nations, who will be allowed. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? I am being booted out of Castle because of my race, my social demographic and my traditional Canadian values. I want the Castle protected, not STOLEN. Anyhow we all know the NDP are liars as it has already be announced they will be paving over miles of the Castle and digging it up to put in new water pipelines for the RESORT. Someone else said their motto should be "pave paradise and put up a parking lot", I agree completely. Take all the trees and put em in a tree museum. You don't know what you got till its gone...

  2. Anonymous31/3/17

    Anyone else notice that the AWA never really uses facts they just make their estimates and what they believe to try to make them sound like facts. They also show that they hate any motorized recreational activities. But yet don't seem to have a problem using their cars to get to the Castle for their type of recreational activity's. They also state that they are for motorized vehicle use as long as it doesn't impact their chosen type of recreation or anything else on the planet. Why do they think they are so high and mighty that their form of recreation is above others. That thinking is pure arrogant elitist entitlement. These people can use the millions of km. of side walks, roads and pathways in this province to do their form of recreating if they want to stay away form OHVs. You are wright using public land is a privilege not a right, So why do you think that you have a right to tell others that their form of recreation is wrong on PUBLIC land? Do you notice that OHV users have never said ban hikers, bikers, skiers etc, or any form of non motorizes recreational users? No. Ohv users support all people using the public lands lawfully the way they want to.

  3. Anonymous 1 and Anonymous 2 (are you the same person?), perhaps you should read the AWA’s press release more carefully.

    The AWA is talking about protecting watersheds, wildlife, biodiversity, and endangered species, and NOT about recreational choices.

    When the AWA calls for the elimination of OHV use in parks and protected areas, it is because of the demonstrable and significant environmental damage that OHVs cause.

    But if eliminating OHV use creates better recreational opportunities for the great majority of Albertans who prefer quiet, non-motorized recreation, that is a fortuitous but secondary benefit.


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