Castle Parks: Significant Addition to Alberta’s Protected Areas and Call for Provincial Leadership on our Public Lands
March 25, 2017
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.”
For more information:
Joanna Skrajny, Alberta Wilderness Association, firstname.lastname@example.org