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A Prairie Oasis A Plan for Bighill Creek

April 13, 2022

Wild Lands Advocate article by: Vivian Pharis, Vice President of Bighill Creek Preservation Society

Click here for a pdf version of the article.

When our little band of mostly retirees undertook a watershed plan for Bighill Creek in 2015, eager to be its proponents and advocates, we did not anticipate becoming its defenders. Our group of seven was thinking in positive terms, like “needed”, “doable” and “challenging.” Something worthwhile that we could sink our teeth into and enjoy doing. Far from our minds were the words “adversarial”, “combative” and “controversial.” We had retired from all of that and who wouldn’t support a watershed plan? Especially so, when such plans had been identified as needed for all three creeks feeding the Bow River at Cochrane. By 2015, Jumping Pound Creek already had a citizen-developed plan and one was underway for Horse Creek. Only Bighill Creek lacked a group of proponents. But we had no idea how gravel and its politics would come to dominate our efforts.

When citizens and their representatives in government fail to place a high value on wilderness as a resource in itself, then its disappearance – especially in reasonably accessible locations – is swift and certain.
- Bruce M. Litteljohn and Douglas H. Pimlott, “Why Wilderness?”, 1971
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