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From pristine wilderness, to heavily used public lands, to provincial parks close to Calgary; the Ghost has it all. The diverse landscapes of South Ghost, Ghost River Wilderness and the Ghost Public Land Use Zone will leave you haunted by their untameable beauty.

AWA believes that protected areas in the Ghost must be managed to ensure the area’s ecological integrity and that promises made in 2014 to expand protections of the area are kept. On nearby public lands, AWA is supportive of responsible use, which would include a shift to ecosystem-based forestry and science-based planning to manage industry and off-highway vehicle use.

    • Introduction
    • Features
    • Concerns
    • History
    • Archive
    • Other Areas
    South_Ghost_map_150px.png Three areas make up what we call the Ghost: The South Ghost, the Ghost River Wilderness and the Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ. Together, these areas mark a beautiful and rugged transition area from the Foothills into the Rockies, connecting to Banff National Park. PHOTO: © H. UNGER

    The name “Ghost”, first recorded by Dr. Hector of the Palliser expedition, originates from a Stoney legend in which ghosts were seen along the river picking up the skulls of warriors killed in battle against the Cree. This name is attached to several significant places in the area, namely the Ghost Lake, the Ghost River Wilderness, and the Ghost-Waiparous Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ).

    Pristine wilderness…

    The rugged landscape of the Ghost area is a marvel of the Eastern Slopes, known for its raw, untameable beauty, and diversity in landscape and wildlife. Pristine wilderness has been captured by the Ghost’s protected areas, including South Ghost and Ghost River Wilderness Area. Together, these areas span 414 km2 and are located 70 west of the City of Calgary. The protected areas of South Ghost include portions of the Bow Valley and Don Getty Wildland Provincial Parks.

    Heavily used and abused public lands…

    Northeast of Ghost’s protected areas is the Ghost-Waiparous Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ which provides the provincial government with the ability to control unplanned motorized access and lawless behaviour. Unfortunately, heavy use and rampant illegal behaviour has led to the severe degradation of the area’s ecosystems and significant reduction in suitable wildlife habitat. In the 2014 South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, the provincial government committed to undertaking a sub-regional planning initiative to better manage linear disturbance within the area. Currently, many of the popular OHV trails – both designated and illegal – run along industrial seismic lines and cut lines, leading to the unforeseen, unregulated, and largely immeasurable degradation of the area’s sensitive habitats. The Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ is the largest of the Ghost areas, covering approximately 1500 km2, and located nearest the small community of Waiparous Village.

    An example of undesignated trail use leading to illegal stream crossing in the Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ.  PHOTO: © J.SKRAJNY


    Approximately two thirds of South Ghost is currently designated as protected, consisting of areas within the Bow Valley and Don Getty Wildland Provincial Parks. The Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, a collection of ten separate islands of protected lands, and the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park were declared as protected areas by the Government of Alberta in 2001. In 2014, the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan proposed the expansion of both Don Getty and Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Parks, although we continue to wait for action on this proposal. More information on the proposed expansions can be found here.


    South Ghost
    The Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park does not yet have a Management Plan to guide its management; however, protection within the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park is currently managed under the Bow Valley Management Plan.  Wildland Provincial Parks were established to “preserve and protect natural heritage” while supporting certain forms of backcountry recreation. Eco-tourism and adventure activities that minimize disturbance to the parks’ undeveloped natural landscapes are encouraged.

    Ghost River Wilderness
    The Ghost River Wilderness is one of three Wilderness Areas managed within Alberta, the others being the White Goat and Siffleur Wilderness Areas. A Wilderness Area is a strict form of protection, used to preserve and protect natural heritage and provide a benchmark for pristine landscapes unaffected by human disturbance. Wilderness Areas do not permit any form of development or consumption, including fishing and hunting, and access is permitted only by foot.

    Ghost Public Land Use Zone
    Though most of Ghost is zoned under the Ghost River Sub-Regional Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) as “prime protection” or “critical wildlife,” a variety of uses are permitted within the Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ; this includes oil and gas development, cattle grazing, motorized recreation, and some development for tourism.  The PLUZ was designated under the Eastern Slopes policy as Multiple Use, “to provide for the management and development of the full range of available resources, while meeting long term objectives for watershed management and environmental protection”. Within this zone industrial development and OHV use are permitted.

    Recreational access to the South Ghost is currently managed under the Ghost-Waiparous Operational Access Management Plan (GAMP), a plan designed to provide opportunities for recreational use while maintaining the area’s natural resources. The plan emphasizes the management of recreational off-highway vehicle use and random camping in the area, including a map and detailed descriptions of the 600 km of designated trails.

    A twenty-year Forest Management Agreement (FMA), signed in 2001, gives exclusive forestry rights in South Ghost to Spray Lake Sawmills. Although the FMA agreement states that the primary use of the forest management area is “to establish, grow, harvest and remove timber,” AWA believes strongly that responsible recreation and providing a source of clean water are more important uses of this landscape.

    Outside of GAMP and the Spray Lake Sawmills FMA, there are a number of other key directives applied within the area to manage both the protected and unprotected lands. The Public Lands Act governs public lands, particularly as it pertains to watershed protection [S. 54 (1)] and the unauthorized usage of public lands [S. 47 (1)]. Other important regulatory mechanisms include the Forests Act [S. 10], the Ghost River Sub-Regional Integrated Resource Plan (1988), A Policy for Resource Management of the Eastern Slopes (1984), the Detailed Forest Management Plan for Spray Lake Sawmills Forest Management Agreement (2006), and the Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (2008).


    South Ghost
    South Ghost covers approximately 260 km2 of land found in the Eastern Slopes and Foothills area. South Ghost can be accessed via TransAlta Road, and is bordered by Banff National Park to the west and the Stoney Indian Reserve to the east. Nearby communities include Waiparous Village to the east, Seebe to the northeast, and Canmore to the northwest.

    20101117_South_Ghost_TR_v3_small.jpg AWA’s South Ghost Area of Concern. MAP © AWA:  JPG | PDF

    Ghost River Wilderness

    The Ghost River Wilderness Area covers 153 km2 and can be located most easily from the access road to Lake Minnewanka stemming from Highway 1A (Bow Valley Trail). Access to the interior of the Ghost River Wilderness area is only permissible by foot.

     AWA’s Ghost River Wilderness Area of Concern. MAP © AWA: JPG | PDF

    Ghost Public Land Use Zone

    The Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ is a 1500 km2 section of public lands, located west and north of Waiparous Village along Forestry Trunk Road (Highway 40). Waiparous Village is the closest community to the area, however the nearest commercial services can be found in the City of Cochrane 40 km to the east.


    The Ghost is located within the South Saskatchewan River watershed and the Bow River Basin – an important basin as it provides water resources for more than one million Albertans downstream. As a result of the porous limestone rock underlying much of the area, the South Ghost River disappears at various points along its bed, seeping into faults to flow underground. Only in the spring, when snowmelt is at its highest, does the South Ghost River flow above ground its entire length.


    The area is underlain by two front ranges: the Fairholme Range and the Rundle Range. The Fairholme Range is made up of three formations, the Cambrian Eldon Formation, the Devonian Palliser Formation, and the Mississippian Rundle Formation. All three are composed of cliff-forming carbonates like limestone and dolomite. The Rundle Range makes up the southwest portion of these front ranges, made up of younger sandstones and shales covered by glacial debris and stream deposits. The variability in the relief of the Ghost area is attributed to differences in resistance between the formations of the Front Range.

    The Etherington Formation extends from Brazeau River south, thickening gradually southward and westward to about 300 m in the Kananaskis area, where it is best exposed. It is composed of shallow marine dolomite and limestone (often sandy and easily weathered and eroded) and highly muddy shallow water red and green shale. The Etherington is the last major carbonate interval to be deposited in the central and southern Rocky Mountains.

    Environmentally Significant Areas

    In its 1997 report on the Environmentally Significant Areas (ESAs) of Alberta, the Alberta government designated the majority of the South Ghost as a nationally significant area, with the remainder defined as provincially and regionally significant areas. The 2009 redrawing of the ESAs left the South Ghost divided between nationally and provincially significant areas. The entirety of the Ghost River Wilderness Provincial Park is designated as internationally significant.

    20101117_South_Ghost_ESA_v3_small.jpg South Ghost Environmentally Significant Areas map. MAP © AWA:  JPG | PDF

     Ghost River Wilderness Environmentally Significant Areas map. MAP © AWA: JPG | PDF

    Natural Regions

    The South Ghost, Ghost River Wilderness and the Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ are located within the Rocky Mountain Natural Region, whose local vegetation and climate regimes are heavily influenced by elevation. The South Ghost is found within the Alpine and Montane Subregions, the Ghost River Wilderness is within the Alpine Subregion.

    20101117_South_Ghost_NSR_v3_small.jpg South Ghost Natural Subregions. MAP © AWA:  JPG | PDF

     Ghost River Wilderness Subregions. MAP © AWA: JPGPDF


    Fescue Grassland: Rough Fescue, Bearded Wheatgrass, Parry Oatgrass, Three-Flowered Avens, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Prairie Sage, and Western Snowberry

    Alpine: Stunted Alpine Fir (known as krummholz), Wood Rush

    Subalpine: Lodgepole Pine, Engelmann-White Spruce hybrids, Alpine Fir, Trembling Aspen, Bearberry, Buffaloberry Feathermosses

    Montane: Lodgepole Pine, Trembling Aspen, White/Engelmann Spruce hybrids, Douglas Fir, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Rough Fescue, Hairy Wild Rye, Plains Reed Grass, Junegrass and Calypso Orchid

    The area contains a number of rare vascular plants including the Lake Louise Arnica, the Leafy Braya, Open Sedge, Mountain Mare’s Tail and Limber Pine.


    In higher elevations the Ghost contains healthy mountain goat and sheep populations, supported by sedge meadows and grasses from the alpine zone. Lower elevations contain elk, deer, mountain lion, wolf, grizzly and black bear. Smaller rodents like the pika, marmot, squirrel (golden mantled, red, and northern flying squirrel), porcupine and chipmunk are common in the Ghost.

    In 2010, grizzly bears were classified as a Threatened species in Alberta. The Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (2008) has made clear that “human use of access (specifically, motorized vehicle routes) is one of the primary threats to grizzly bear persistence.” Regulating human use of access in grizzly bear range reduces the risk of human-caused mortality, specifically maintaining open route densities at or below 0.6 km/km2 in Core grizzly bear habitat and at or below 1.2 km/km2 in all remaining grizzly bear range.

    In addition to the native wildlife, the Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ is home to a large population of feral horses. The 2017 Feral Horse Survey counted 316 feral horses in the Ghost River Equine Zone alone.

    The Ghost contains populations of threatened pure strain westslope cutthroat trout, the critical habitat of which is protected federally under the Species at Risk Act. The Ghost also contains populations of bull trout, provincially listed and federally assessed as threatened. Invasive species, disease and habitat degradation put these fish populations at high risk.


    Indigenous Peoples arrived in this location more than 10,000 years ago, though human activity has been somewhat limited by the lack of any major watercourse in the area. The Assiniboia group of the great Sioux Nation inhabited the Bow Valley prior to settling by European explorers. “Stoney” was the name given to the Nakoda people by European traders.

    The Bow Valley to the south of the South Ghost was a major transportation route used by European explorers. However, there was little reason to travel directly through the South Ghost itself. Early European explorers in the area include Duncan McGillivray, nephew and assistant to David Thompson in 1800, as well as botanist Eugene Bourgeau and geologist Dr. James Hector from the Palliser expedition in 1858.


    Between the Ghost River Wilderness Area, the Wildland Provincial Parks (Bow Valley and Don Getty), and the Public Land Use Zone, the Ghost hosts a variety of activities. The Wilderness Area only permits backcountry hiking and camping, whereas the Wildland Provincial Parks allow other low-disturbance activities such as backcountry hiking, fishing, camping, hunting, rock climbing and horseback riding (Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park). The Ghost-Waiparous PRA also hosts many of these activities, in addition to motorized recreation on the designated off-highway vehicle trails.


    A twenty-year Forest Management Agreement (FMA), signed in 2001, gives exclusive forestry rights in South Ghost to Spray Lake Sawmills. Although the FMA agreement states that the primary use of the forest management area is “to establish, grow, harvest and remove timber,” AWA believes strongly that responsible recreation and providing a source of clean water are more important uses of this landscape.

    Off-Highway Vehicle Use

    The ecological integrity of the area is dependent on compliance with the rules of the Ghost-Waiparous Access Management Plan. This requires adequate funding for infrastructure, and considerable funding for enforcement staff. The uncontrolled usage of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) has resulted in “lawless motorized mayhem.” As a result, non-motorized forms of recreation such as equestrian use and hiking have been displaced from the area. The exacerbation of linear disturbances, particularly in the Ghost-Waiparous Public Land Use Zone, is further reducing viable habitat for at risk species.
    AWA supports commitments made in the 2014 South Saskatchewan Regional Plan to create science-based plans to designate motorized trails in appropriate areas where there is no impact on other recreational users, vegetation, water or wildlife.


    Critical habitat for threatened westslope cutthroat trout has been compromised by the inappropriate siting of designated trails along with illegal use of exiting linear features seismic lines and cut lines as unofficial OHV trails. Seismic lines and cut lines are not designed for OHV-use and can result in the can lead to the sediment-loading and disease transport into the critical habitat needed for the survival and recovery of westslopes.

    A sample of the damage that can be done by off-highway recreation to the creek bed and surrounding riparian habitat. PHOTO: © AWA

    Grizzly bears are classified as a threatened species in Alberta. Grizzlies in Alberta need secure habitat, free from excessive motorized access, including maintaining trail densities at or below 0.6 km/km2 in high quality grizzly bear habitat in Grizzly Bear Core Areas and at or below 1.2 km/km2 in all remaining grizzly bear range.


    AWA works with Stop Ghost Clearcut and the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society (GWAS) to increase awareness of unchecked OHV activity, illegal firearms and weapons discharge, irresponsible random camping, and a lack of enforcement that has become prevalent in the GhostWaiparous area.


    In April, AWA staff were pleased to be included in an open house held by the Environmental Science department at the University of Calgary featuring research conducted within the Ghost Watershed. Students collaborated with local members of the Ghost community to assess water quality, carbon storage, sedimentation, feral horse population trends and effective messaging tools used for public recreation


    Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) begins flagging the ecologically unique and sensitive Aura Sand Hills, Horse Lake and surrounding wetlands for timber harvest. The Aura Sand Hills have already been heavily eroded by OHV activity.


    In April, the Ghost River State of the Watershed (SOW) Report, prepared by the ALCES consulting group, is released by the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society. This report provides an assessment of information and data available to assess the current condition of the Ghost Watershed.


    The Government of Alberta budgets $2 million to increase their enforcement capacity within the Ghost-Waiparous PLUZ in order to reduce the volume of illegal off-highway vehicle (OHV) activity. Since implementation, the added officers have made a noticeable difference. AWA awaits the development of land-use footprint and recreation management plans by the Government of Alberta.


    The Ghost Stewardship Monitoring Group dissolves in April of 2016. This was done as it was expected that more comprehensive recreational planning was to be carried out by Alberta Environment and Parks, and that this work would replace the work of the GSMG. The Government of Alberta anticipated a recreation management plan for the Ghost in 2017.

    In July, the government announces $2.5 million in upgrades to the Public Recreation Areas (PRA’s) in the Ghost Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ). It will see 5 areas refurbished with campground roads, RV sites, bear proof garbage bins, new washrooms, and improved trail signage. Work begins at Waiparous Creek PRA, Ghost Airstrip PRA, Fallen Timber PRA, Burnt Timber PRA, and Red Deer River PRA to be completed in 2018-19.


    A grassroots group of locals, the Ghost Valley Community, urges the government of Alberta to place an immediate moratorium on logging operations in the Ghost Valley; the petition gathers 1,363 signatures. The Community’s efforts also stop a mud bogging event from occurring on the May long weekend.

    Spray Lakes Sawmill’s Bluff Block is pulled from logging due to a court action enacted by a member of the community.

    In November, the MD of Bighorn Council offers a voluntary road use agreement to Spray Lakes Sawmills, allowing the use of Jamieson Road for log haul through the area to their South B9 Quota area. The decision sparks a rally on November 14 and 21, of which dozens participated.


    139 people in the Ghost River valley deliver a letter to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi highlighting the importance of the Ghost River watershed to Calgarians’ lives. In the winter, as much as 20% of the Bow River’s flow to Calgary comes from the Ghost River.


    Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) is unsuccessful in its application for certification of its forests as sustainably managed. The company applied in 2010 for certification by the Forest Stewardship Council for the Kananaskis and Ghost parts of its operations (the forests covered by SLS’ twenty-year Forest Management Agreement (FMA) with the Alberta government).


    In March, the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council publishes its Advice to the Government of Alberta for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. Includes some strong recommendations, including: “Manage land in the headwaters (e.g., Eastern Slopes and Cypress Hills areas) so that maintaining watershed integrity is given highest priority by considering impacts of land disturbance in management decisions.” But it also contains conflicting recommendations such as “All of the South Saskatchewan Region should be used by people for their economic interests and their enjoyment” (p7) and “The promotion of responsible exploration, development, and extraction of energy and mineral resources… and new investments are to be promoted.” No attempt is made to explain how these conflicting recommendations will be managed.

    In August, a Calgary man is fined $2000 for driving his truck in Waiparous Creek and damaging spawning grounds for threatened fish such as bull trout and cutthroat trout. Damage to fish habitat by unregulated motorized use in the Ghost-Waiparous region is a daily occurrence, but prosecutions are extremely rare. The sentencing, which saw the proceeds of the court fine go to the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society, was a promising sign of investment and enforcement in conservation values within the area.

    In October, the joint report ‘Sustainable Forests, Sustainable Communities: The Future of Alberta’s Southwestern Forests’ is released. Citizens and associations from communities throughout southwestern Alberta join together to document serious concerns with current industrial‐scale logging practices and present an alternative model for the management of Alberta’s southwestern forests guided by independent scientific expertise and augmented local participation.


    In May, a progress report on an Ecosystem-based Conservation Plan for the Ghost River Watershed is prepared by Silva Ecosystem Services on behalf of AWA and the Ghost Watershed Alliance. This report highlights the lack of adequate growing site productivity in the watershed (Alberta Vegetation Index), the impacts of clearcutting practices on the ecological integrity, and the future implications of logging for the Ghost’s white spruce forests.

    In August, AWA releases an updated report, The Forests of Alberta’s Southern Eastern Slopes: Forest or Forestry? “The forests in southern Alberta are managed principally to provide a sustained yield of timber for the forestry industry. Other functions of healthy forests – including watershed and environmental services, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat – are managed as secondary concerns.”

    In December, AWA responds to Spray Lake Sawmills’ application for Forest Stewardship Council certification for “sustainable” management of the forests in its Forest Management Agreement (FMA) area in Kananaskis and the Ghost. Our response concluded that the “current standards of forestry operations [by SLS] are inadequate to qualify them for FSC certification.”


    AWA sponsors a workshop followed by field surveys and work with Herb Hammond of the Silva Foundation on contract. The project is supported by the Calgary Foundation and the RBC Bluewater Foundation. This work is a stepping stone for work that will continue with ALCES Landscape and Land-Use Ltd. studies.


    The Alberta Environment report, Water Quality Study of Waiparous Creek, Fallentimber Creek and Ghost River, finds a 10-fold increase in sediment loading in Waiparous Creek can be attributed to off-highway vehicle (OHV) activity.

    The Ghost-Waiparous Access Management Plan (GAMP or GWAMP) for motorized access is released after 15 years of periodic stakeholder consultation. Under these new regulations, motorized recreational activities will be managed using a network of designated trails, rather than complete unregulated access. The area will continue to provide other recreational opportunities such as hiking, cycling and horseback riding.

    The AWA expresses support for GAMP process but concern that without assurances of future funding and enforcement, there is little reason to believe that GAMP will result in significant change.

    The Ghost Forest Land Use Zone (Ghost FLUZ) and accompanying designated trails network is established, restricting random camping and allowing for 600 kilometres of trail for motorized users (previously there were only 189 km of trails officially designated).

    AWA agrees to be represented on the new Ghost Stewardship Monitoring Group (GSMG), an assembly of committed stakeholders of the Ghost-Waiparous Forest Land Use Zone that will deliberate and recommend GAMP implementation, assembled under the Government of Alberta’s divison of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD).

    AWA writes to SRD to express its opposition to proposed recreational development at Trapper’s Hill Lodges. AWA is “extremely concerned about”, and adamantly opposed to, the proposal by Richard Blair and the Lazy H Trail Company to place a 100 unit and 90 RV site 4-season tourist resort on 160 acres of public land at a prime location in the Eastern Slopes.” No reply is ever received from SRD.

    Draft Detailed Forest Management Plan for Spray Lake Sawmills Forest Management Agreement area is released in May 2006. This includes land within the Ghost Waiparous area. Considerable public reaction is received, as the surrounding community expresses concern over the effects that logging will have on the watershed.


    A series of stakeholder meetings is held between April and October, with representatives from government, watershed groups, industry, ranchers, motorized access groups and environmental organizations. These meetings are focused on developing a set of guiding principles for future trail selection, and a hotly-contested trail map.


    The Bar C Ranch and Cattle Company Ltd. wins an injunction, restraining several small quota holders within the South Ghost area of the Spray Lake Forest Management Agreement from conducting further logging operations on its leased lands. A judge rules that Sustainable Resource Development “must give those who are affected a chance to have direct input” in land use decisions, particularly when the Department specifically says it will.


    AWA contributes a written submission to the Ghost-Waiparous Access Management Plan and participates in subsequent focus meeting.

    AWA expresses support for “the safe and responsible use of OHVs on designated trails in appropriate zones” and concern about the negative effects of OHVs and random camping (particularly their impact on the watershed and wildlife), conflicts with other recreational users of the area, and future measures for monitoring, enforcement and restoration.


    The Alberta Forest Service intends to prepare an Access Management Plan but wait for funding approval.


    The provincial government announces the creation of Don Getty Wildland Park within AWA’s South Ghost area.

    Despite concerted opposition by AWA and other groups, a twenty-year Forest Management Agreement (FMA) is signed between Province and Spray Lakes Sawmills (SLS); this agreement entitles SLS to the management of over 300,000 hectares of forest, including the non-protected areas of the Ghost. The FMA, which includes the Ghost-Waiparous area, allows SLS to manufacture 90 million board-feet of lumber, wood chips, and other products annually. It also states that the primary use of the forest management area is “to establish, grow, harvest and remove timber”

    A Sustainable Resource Development brochure published at the time states that “Like all other FMAs, this one is a private business transaction between a corporate entity and the Crown.” AWA disagrees entirely: this is public land, and all Albertans should have a say in its management. The City of Calgary also has minimal input into the signing of the FMA, despite the fact that the FMA area is an important source of the city’s drinking water.


    The Alberta Forest Service completes a GIS video audit in 2000 of 900 infrastructure & environmental problem spots, but has no funds to analyze them.


    Provincial cutbacks limit enforcement and education efforts within the Ghost area.


    Ghost River Sub-Regional Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is updated. The report notes that “Motorized recreational use has been known to occur to a limited degree within the Ghost River Wilderness Area where such use is prohibited.” The AWA registers disappointment with the development rather than protection focus of IRP, and sanctioning of off-road vehicle use in Prime protection zone.


    Ghost River Integrated Resource Plan is published. Few restrictions are placed on OHV use or industrial activity.


    The AWA makes submission to the Ghost River Integrated Management Plan (IRP). In this submission it is noted that “The old seismic line up the South Ghost River also experiences some motorized vehicle use. This line extends approximately four miles into the proposed Wilderness Recreational Area. At this point, approximate elevation 5900’, the trail becomes too narrow for 4-wheeled vehicles and too rough for all but the most determined motorcyclists.”


    AWA participates in a productive liaison with industry, the Albert Forest Service, and local ranchers in devising a timber harvest plan which minimizes environmental and aesthetic damage in an area adjacent to the subject project area. AWA offers to participate in the development of an access plan for the region, but the Alberta Forest Service recommends AWA direct these concerns to the Ghost River Integrated Management Plan team.


    Policy for Resource Management of the Eastern Slopes is published. This document prioritizes watershed management to ensure a reliable supply of clean water for aquatic habitat and downstream use. In addition, the Eastern Slopes policy designated large areas of land for varying degrees of protection, resource management and development. The South Ghost area is zoned as Prime Protection and Critical Wildlife.


    AWA formally supports the establishment of Wildland Recreation Areas set aside under the Wilderness Areas Act. Under this Act, the Siffleur, Ghost and the White Goat were set aside as ecological reserves, however AWA requests the further designation of Wilderness Areas especially in areas outside the Rockies in Alberta’s north, or in the plains. The proposal for increased Wilderness Areas can be found in the AWA publication Wildlands for Recreation.


    The Wilderness Areas Act affords the adjacent Ghost River Area the protection of a legal statute. The act is designed to preserve the natural beauty of the area, as well as safeguard it from industrial development and occupation by man, except as a visitor.


    The Provincial Parks Act 1964 designates the Ghost River Wilderness Area.


    The Rocky Mountain Forest Reserve formally is established by the Forest Reserves Act, providing “for the maintenance of water supply and the conservation of forests and other vegetation.”


    Management of the Rocky Mountain Forest Reserve is transferred to the Province of Alberta.


    The federal government establishes the Rocky Mountain Forest Reserve for the protection of watersheds, and for the maintenance of conditions favourable to a continuous water supply.


    JS Dennis, Chief Inspector of Surveys, Department of the Interior, writes about the forests of the southern Eastern Slopes in a letter to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Government of Canada. “The permanency of our water supply is largely dependent upon the preservation of the forests at present covering the watershed, and this protection can only be secured by prohibiting the cutting of the timber.”


    Botanist Eugene Bourgeau and geologist Dr. James Hector of the Palliser expedition pass through area. They are the first to refer to this area as “Ghost.”


    Duncan McGillivray, travelling with David Thompson on a visit to Bow River Area, kills, collects and prepares several specimen animals from the region for the purpose of scientific description and classification.


    Indigenous peoples arrive in this location more than 10 000 years ago.

    December 14, 2016

    Restoration of Roads and Trails in the Eastern Slopes: It Can Work

    Download the full pdf. Alberta’s Eastern Slopes are suffering from an excess of access. Sub-regional…

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    June 1, 2016

    Don’t Give Up the Ghost: An AWA Summer Hike

    June 2016 Wildlands Advocate article by Ian Urquhart. AWA’s hikes program takes visitors to amazing…

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    March 16, 2016

    Eastern Slopes Land-Use Management: Emails to the Government of Alberta from AWA

    March 16, 2016: Eastern Slopes Land-Use Management Dear Premier Notley: I am pleased to send…

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    February 1, 2016

    Eastern Slopes for Tomorrow Campaign

    February 2016 Wild Lands Advocate article by Joanna Skrajny The Eastern Slopes are in a…

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    December 1, 2015

    Reports: Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Use

    The following reports relate to off-highway vehicle (OHV) planning and management in Canada and other…

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    September 3, 2014

    Reaching Out in the Ghost – It’s What Good Neighbors Do

    Wild Land Advocate article, July 2014. Ian Urquhart. One year after the floods of 2013,…

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    September 1, 2013

    Presentation: Stumps, Sawdust and Sediment

    See the presentation prepared by Lorne Fitch, Stumps, Sawdust and Sediment: A Legacy of Logging…

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    May 17, 2013

    Fish and Forests Fact Sheet: A Sustainable Vision for the Future of Alberta’s Forests

    Alberta’s Eastern Slopes forests between the mountains and the grasslands have ecological importance far greater…

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    August 12, 2011

    Precedent-setting Fine for Joyrider Who Damaged Fish Habitat

    AWA congratulates provincial and federal enforcement and legal staff for the successful prosecution of a…

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    August 8, 2011

    Assessment of the Cumulative Effects of Land Uses within the Ghost River Watershed

    Report written by ALCES, commissioned by the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society. 20110711_rp_gho_ces_yarmoloy_Final.pdf

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I love bears and the wildlands where they live. Bears have fascinated me, scared me ‘til my heart pounded, and inspired me… They have helped me to learn about the diversity of life on earth and how nature works.
- Dr. Steven Herrero
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