Alberta’s Upper Smoky Caribou: Time for a Strong Land-Use Plan
September 12, 2022
A year-end deadline is approaching for Alberta to finish its crucial Upper Smoky land-use plan, for two of Canada’s most at-risk caribou populations. To support timely measures that enable caribou recovery and responsible development, Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) is releasing a compelling new portrait of the caribou, lands, peoples and industries of the Upper Smoky sub-region of west central Alberta.
“While Redrock-Prairie Creek and Narraway mountain caribou have lived in the Upper Smoky area for millennia, their survival now depends on Alberta government decisions that citizens need to be consulted on very soon,” says Carolyn Campbell, AWA conservation director. “Although many Albertans have never visited this beautiful region, we want them to have a better idea of its lands and peoples, and the opportunities to recover these magnificent caribou.”
The Clock is Running out for Caribou describes setbacks and solutions for Upper Smoky, including:
In 2018, the federal government determined that Alberta’s Redrock-Prairie Creek and Narraway mountain caribou faced ‘imminent threats’ to their recovery because of unsustainable predation due to habitat loss. To sustain mountain caribou, at least 65 percent of their winter range needs to be ‘undisturbed’; by 2017, industrial activity had disturbed 71 percent of Redrock-Prairie Creek winter range and 84 percent of Narraway winter range. In October 2020, to avoid a federal habitat protection order, Alberta committed to finish long-overdue caribou range plans, including one by 2022 for these Upper Smoky caribou.
AWA commissioned distinguished journalist Gillian Steward to write The Clock is Running out for Caribou. AWA believes that the Upper Smoky caribou land-use plan is the best opportunity to reduce unsustainable development impacts so caribou can thrive, as well as communities.
For more information:
Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association, (403) 283-2025