Friday, May 18, 2018

CCWC applauds Castle Management Plan

Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition  -  For almost 30 years, the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition (CCWC) has worked with its conservation partners to see the Castle Area in southwestern Alberta receive the protection it deserves.  The CCWC thanks and commends Minister Shannon Phillips and the Government of Alberta for the final Castle Management Plan, and for the plan's commitment to manage the Castle Parks in the best interests of all Albertans.

"Over the CCWC's long history we have seen industrial and recreational demands override ecologically-informed science advice, but this Minister and Government have put science first in the final Management Plan for the Castle Parks", says Andrea Hlady, President of the CCWC. "The health of the land, waters, and wildlife were given the highest priority."

"As I've indicated, this has been a long time coming, so we're very pleased to finally see the completed Plan", continues Hlady. "We will continue to look closely at all provisions in the plan to ensure conservation principles are upheld so these become world-class Parks that all Albertans can enjoy. Overall, we are pleased with the Plan's direction."

Dr. Andy Hurly, ecologist and Professor Emeritus, University of Lethbridge, and CCWC Vice President, also commends the Government of Alberta for prioritizing a science-based approach to its management plan decisions. "It's vital to use science to inform decisions," says Hurly, "especially with contentious issues like the phase out of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in the Castle parks. The CCWC trusts the Government will continue to use science to guide decision making in the broader landscape of the southern Eastern Slopes when dealing with difficult issues like industrial development, grazing, recreational pressures, and OHV use."

The Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park cover a spectacular area of mountains, foothills, and montane in the MD of Pincher Creek between the Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes National Park. The Castle has the highest biodiversity in the province outside of Waterton Park, and is a vital part of the larger Crown of the Continent ecosystem. The Castle Parks are a major headwater source for the Oldman River Basin. Many important First Nations cultural and spiritual sites are located in the Castle Parks.

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