The Castle Wilderness is a region of outstanding wilderness values. As the essential piece of an ecological puzzle, the Castle connects those Canadian and US National Parks to the south and the Flathead Basin to the west with those habitats and populations in the mountains and foothills to the north. With numerous overlapping ecosystems in one relatively small area, the Castle Wilderness contains one of the highest animal and plant species diversities in Alberta. Although some portions of the region are highly disturbed by industrial and recreational use, the conservation value of the Castle Wilderness remains high.
- AWA Position Statement
- AWA and other conservation groups are calling for the protection of the Castle area as a Wildland Park.
- Proposed 1,040 km2 park on public Forest Reserve lands in the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains
- Immediately designate the core as a Wildland Park, placing the remainder under Provincial Park Reservation with no new industrial disturbance permitted
- Implement the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Environment Non-Government Organizations (CAPP-ENGO) agreement to phase out existing oil and gas dispositions, and establish the Provincial Park Reservation as a park once the present gas field facilities are phased out
- Nominate the Castle for World Heritage Site designation by UNESCO, as an addition to the Waterton and Glacier World Heritage Site
Despite 30 years of demands for protection of the Castle Wilderness, the pace of ecological degradation continues unabated while the government continues to sit on the fence. Rather than providing protection for the 1,000 km2 needed for critical wildlife habitat, to date the Alberta government has provided legislated protection for the mere 1 km2 West Castle Wetland Ecological Reserve. The struggle to protect this incredible landscape continues.
In the Board's estimation, conservation of the Castle area is crucial to the state of the Crown Ecosystem and the greater chain of the Rocky Mountain ecosystems by virtue of its strategic location.
- Natural Resources Conservation Board Decision Report, 1993
- 100 hectare West Castle River Wetlands Ecological Reserve (1998)