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Castle Wilderness Announcement: Letter to Government of Alberta

January 23, 2017

Dear Premier Notley:
Thank you for increasing protection of the Castle Wilderness. Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) cut its teeth defending wilderness in the Castle area as a fledgling organization over 50 years ago. It was truly a special day on Friday when we listened to your announcement that recognizes the value of this incredible area.

We are proud of Alberta’s pristine wilderness, and now there is no doubt that the Castle Parks will be loved and cherished by hundreds of thousands of people from around the world for many generations to come. The decisions announced on Friday, including co-management of the Provincial Park with the Piikani Nation, are progress towards restoration of this wilderness and will mean that visitors will receive the best experience possible and are encouraged to return.

No doubt you know that protecting this area is the right decision for the more than 200 rare or at risk species in the Castle. Federally protected westslope cutthroat trout and threatened grizzly bears will finally have a chance to recover their populations. The Global Forest Watch Canada reports released last year underline deforestation and damage in the Castle Parks. In order for restoration of this vital landscape to occur, the steps you have taken and will take makes yours the best decision for this vital ecosystem. Expanding the Wildland Provincial Parks boundaries, closing motorized use south of highway 774, and targeting ongoing closures to eliminate motorized recreational use in a manner that minimizes damage to critical wildlife areas are all significant conservation measures.

We all know that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but we can all celebrate that the government recognized the value of planting one today. I look forward to carefully reviewing the Castle management plan and fully engaging further in the consultation process.

Thank you to all those who have worked so hard to create progress and make solid, well reasoned decisions to create a wilderness legacy we can all be proud of for generations to come.

Sincerely,
Alberta Wilderness Association
Joanna Skrajny
AWA Conservation Specialist

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