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The South Ghost is a rugged, majestic wilderness area in the robust Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

It is located approximately 70 kilometres west of the City of Calgary, bordered by Banff National Park to the west and the Stoney Indian Reserve to the east. 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 skulls of warriors killed in battle against the Cree.

The name “Ghost” is also attached to a number of areas adjacent to AWA’s South Ghost Area of Concern.

    • Introduction
    • Features
    • History
    • Management
    • Archive
    • Other Areas

    South_Ghost_map_150px.png

    Foothillsofghostriver_gho_rpharis_460x150px.jpg

    • The Ghost River Wilderness to the north is one of Alberta’s three large Wilderness Areas, managed principally to maintain its wilderness qualities.
    • The Ghost Waiparous area to the northeast is well known as a multiple-use area; in recent years, management changes have been attempting to regulate a region where unplanned motorized access had been allowed to severely degrade the ecosystem over a number of years.

    The South Ghost area is an important natural area, particularly because it is a “critical sub-basin of a small and shrinking watershed that is being called on to supply an ever increasing downstream population.” This is a wilderness area, known for its raw beauty.

    Status

    • With a total area of approximately 262 km2, around two thirds of the South Ghost is protected.
    • The area includes most of the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park, and part of the Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park.
    • The Don Getty Wildland Provincial Park, a collection of ten separate islands of protected land, and the Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park were protected by the Alberta government in 2001.

    Vision

    The South Ghost must be a wilderness area, sensitively managed according to the original intent of 1977 “prime protection” and “critical wildlife” zoning under the Eastern Slopes Policy. Wilderness values including wildlife habitat, production of a clean, healthy water supply, and minimum impact recreation, are paramount. The entire South Ghost area will be protected with the expansion of the Bow Valley Wildland and Don Getty Wildland to complete the protection of this wild and free area.

    AWA is grateful for the support of Calgary Foundation for community work being carried out in the Ghost watershed, in cooperation with the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society.

    Concerns

    • The ecological integrity of the area is dependent on compliance with the rules of the Access Management Plan. This requires adequate funding for infrastructure, and considerable funding for enforcement staff.
    • In the past, the uncontrolled usage of OHVs has resulted in “lawless motorized mayhem.” As a result, walkers and hikers have been displaced from the area.
    • Grizzly bears in Alberta need secure habitat, free from excessive motorized access.

    Area

    • The South Ghost area consists of both alpine and subalpine subregions.
    • The area includes minimal industrial development due in part to the fact that there are no coal bodies in the area. Generally speaking, the region has low potential for commercial production.
    • Once pristine and untouched, the South Ghost is now a popular recreational area.

    20101117_South_Ghost_TR_v3_small.jpg
    Township and Range map: JPG | PDF

    20101117_South_Ghost_NSR_v3_small.jpg
    Natural Subregions map:  JPG | PDF

    Watershed

    • The South Ghost is located within the South Saskatchewan River watershed and the Bow River Basin.
    • This area is significant because it provides water for more than a million Albertans.
    • 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.
    • At the place where the South Ghost River joins the Ghost River, the South Ghost seeps underground into a braided bed of gravel known as the “Dry Fork.”

    Environmentally Significant Areas

    • In its 1997 report on the Environmentally Significant Areas 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 Environmentally Significant Areas left the South Ghost divided between nationally and provincially significant areas.

    20101117_South_Ghost_ESA_v3_small.jpg
    Environmentally Significant
    Areas map:  JPG | PDF
    Biodiversity and Ecosystems

    • Severe winds and a harsh climate constrain vegetation in the South Ghost.
    • In the summer time, winds often blow out the thin, shallow soil and vegetation.
    • In the winter, Chinook winds melt the snow and expose vegetation to the elements.
    • Due to severe weather, few common eastern slopes species inhabit the South Ghost area.

    Vegetation

    • Several distinct vegetation zones exist in the South Ghost. The subalpine forest zone occurs at altitudes lower than 7,000 feet (2,134 metres) and alpine tundra zone occurs above 7,500 feet (2,286 metres). Between these two zones lies an area characterized by small, gnarled trees knows as the krummholz, or elfin woodland.
    • The subalpine forest is dominated by coniferous trees, including spruce (both white or Engelmann), subalpine fir and lodgepole pine. Scattered aspen, balsam, poplar and paper birch trees grow at lower elevations.
    • Forests of entirely lodgepole pine indicate that the area has been burned, because these trees are the first to grow back in newly burned locations. Lodgepole pine forests are generally open and have an understory of grasses and bearberry, recognized by its cone-shaped flowers and red berries.
    • The understory in spruce-fir forests is moister than in pine forests and contains characteristic plants like twin flower, bunchberry and feathermosses.
    • Although the growing season is short, when proper conditions exist, the alpine tundra is carpeted by lush meadows of grasses and sedges. Common plants include yellow flowered glacier lilies, buttercups and cinquefoil. In addition, crustose lichen grows on rocks abundant in the alpine tundra zone.

    Wildlife

    • Though present, little suitable low elevation habitat results in limited numbers of moose, elk, deer, mountain lion, wolf, grizzly and black bear.
    • Instead, the area is home to healthy mountain goat and sheep populations.
    • Bird population in the South Ghost area is estimated at 100-120 species, including the gray jay (whiskey jack), spruce grouse, blue grouse, waxwing, yellow warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, pine siskin, rufous hummingbird, golden eagle, mountain blue bird, white tailed ptarmigan, horned lark, rosy finch, water pipit, the goldeneye, dipper, spotted sandpiper, solitary sandpiper and Clarke’s Nutcracker.
    • Butterflies are common in the meadows of the alpine tundra zone, including the red and white admiral, silvery blue, tortoiseshell, fritillary, checkerspot and sulphur butterflies.
    • Few fish are found in waterways due to the steep grade and fluctuating water levels.
    • Rodents like the pika, marmot, squirrel (golden mantled, red, and northern flying squirrel), porcupine and chipmunk are common in the South Ghost.

    Cultural

    • First Nation’s peoples may have 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.
    • Pictographs can be found some of the cave walls in the Wildlands.
    • The Bow Valley to the south of the South Ghost was a major transportation route used by explorers. However, there was little reason to travel directly through the South Ghost itself.
    • Early 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.
    • The South Ghost area has mystical significance and is said to be haunted.
    • 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 skulls of warriors killed in battle against the Cree.

    Geology

    • This impressive mountain range is the result of slippage and thrusting along a major fault (the McConnell Thrust Fault), which occurred about 65 million years ago.
    • During this time, old and previously buried Cambrian rocks (600 million years old) were thrust eastward over Mississippian carbonate sedimentary rock (450 million years old) and over Cretaceous sandstones (130 million years old).
    • The Rundle Group, represented in this central part of the Rocky Mountains, has two main sequences: the Livingstone Formation and the overlying Mount Head Formation. South of the Waiparous River, the Etherington Formation caps this group; north of the river it has been largely removed by erosion.
    • 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.

    This History covers AWA’s South Ghost Area of Concern, and also includes information for the adjacent Ghost Waiparous and Ghost River Wilderness areas.

    2016

    The Ghost Stewardship Monitoring Group dissolves in April. The government of Alberta anticipates a recreation management plan for the Ghost in 2017.

    The summer sees continued lawless behavior, such as shot-up posters of a semi-nude woman on a recreational vehicle trail. Concerns for safety abound.

    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.

    2015

    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 stops a mud bogging event from occurring on the May long weekend.

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

    In November, the MD of Bighorn Council offered 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.

    The community leads actions such as community halls, petitions, and participation in AWA’s Fish and Forests forum.

    2014

    139 people in the Ghost River valley delivered 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.

    May 2012

    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).

     October 2011

    Report, Sustainable Forests, Sustainable Communities. The Future of Alberta’s Southwestern Forests, is released. Citizens and associations from communities throughout southwestern Alberta have joined together to document serious concerns with current industrial‐scale logging practices and present an alternative vision for the management of Alberta’s southwestern forests.”There is an urgent need to create an alternative model of forest management in Alberta. We envision a new model, based on ecosystem management, guided by independent scientific expertise and augmented by local community participation and benefit. We are not opposed to all logging. Instead we support the development of a forest management model that maintains healthy forest ecosystems as its primary function, and offers sustainable benefits to communities from the wise use of these forests…”

     August 2011

    The 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.

    AWA congratulates the relevant authorities and hopes that this may be a sign of a new and long-awaited commitment to enforcing regulations. While we recognize that current provincial legislation has long been inadequate to deal with rampant motorized abuse, at least there may be a renewed will to use federal legislation to get the job done. The sentencing, which sees the proceeds of the court fine go to the Ghost Watershed Alliance Society is also a promising sign.

     March 2011

    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.

     December 2010

    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.

    • “While AWA believes that SLS’s interest in receiving certification for their forestry operations is significant and desirable, we also believe their current standards of forestry operations are inadequate to qualify them for FSC certification.”
    • “Considerable improvements will be needed before management of these forests can be considered to be “sustainable.”
    • “AWA believes FSC has the potential to set a high standard of sustainable ecosystem based forest operations for Spray Lake Sawmills and that if SLS accepts that challenge, there will be significant gain for our forest ecosystems.”

     August 2010

    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.”

     May 2010

    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. Findings include :

    • According to Alberta Vegetation Index data, less than 2 percent of the watershed contains good growing site productivity.
    • Planned logging will “remove the majority of white spruce forests of medium and good site quality” which are “naturally rare or unique ecosystem types in the Ghost River watershed.”
    • Past and planned logging is done exclusively through clearcutting, which “has the highest negative impacts on composition, structure, and function of forest, resulting in long-term loss of biodiversity and damaging the ecological integrity of the entire Ghost River watershed landscape ecology.”

    Fall 2009

    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. A final report of our joint work with Herb Hammond is posted to the AWA website. It has been a stepping stone to work that will continue with ALCES Landscape and Land-Use Ltd. studies.

    2006

    A 2006 Alberta Environment report, Water Quality Study of Waiparous Creek, Fallentimber Creek and Ghost River, finds that a 10-fold increase in sediment loading in Waiparous Creek can be attributed to off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) activity.

    The Ghost-Waiparous Access Management Plan (GAMP or GWAMP) for motorized access is released after 15 year of on and off stakeholder consultation. GAMP ends days of unlimited access to the Ghost Waiparous area. Under these new regulations, motorized recreational activities will be managed using a network of designated trails. 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. Created under the Alberta government’s division of Sustainable Resource Development (SRD), the goals of the GSMG include :

    • Ensuring public safety as it relates to the Group’s operational ability under the guidelines set forth by in the Plan within the Ghost-Waiparous Forest Land Use Zone (FLUZ).
    • Ensuring sustainability of natural and aesthetic resources as it relates to the Group’s operational ability under the guidelines set forth by the Plan in the Ghost FLUZ as well as adjoining regions as or if required.
    • Promoting cooperation and collaboration between recreational OHV users and other users in the Ghost-Waiparous FLUZ.
    • Providing a range of meaningful opportunities for summer and winter recreational OHV use in the Ghost-Waiparous FLUZ.

    Draft Detailed Forest Management Plan for Spray Lake Sawmills Forest Management Agreement area released in May 2006. This includes land within the Ghost Waiparous area. Considerable public reaction is received.

    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.

    2005

    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.

    2004

    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 FMA from conducting further logging operations on its leased lands. A judge rules that SRD “must give those who are affected a chance to have direct input” in land use decisions, particularly when the Department specifically says it will.

    2003

    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.

    2002

    Forest Service intends to prepare an access management plan but wait for funding approval.

    2001

    The Alberta 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 is signed between Province and Spray Lakes Sawmills, hands over management of over 300,00 hectares, 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”

    An SRD 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.

    2000

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

    1990s

    Provincial cutbacks limit enforcement and education efforts.

    1988

    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.

    1984

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

    1981

    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 approx. fours miles into the proposed WRA. 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.”

    1980

    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.

    1977

    Policy for Resource Management of the Eastern Slopes 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.

    1973

    AWA first formally proposes the establishment of Wildland Recreation Areas in publication called Wildlands for Recreation.

    1971

    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.

    1967

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

    1964

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

    1930

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

    1911

    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.

    1896

    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.”

    1858

    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.”

    1800

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

    Pre- 1800

    First Nation’s peoples arrive in this location more than 10 000 years ago.

    The protected areas of the South Ghost – Bow Valley Wildland and Don Getty Wildland – are managed by the Tourism, Parks and Recreation ministry of the Alberta government. These areas do not yet have Management Plans to guide and explain their management.  The non-protected areas are managed by Sustainable Resource Development (SRD).

    Though most of the area is zoned under the Ghost River Sub-Regional Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) as “prime protection” or “critical wildlife,” a variety of uses is allowed, including oil and gas development, motorized recreation, some tourism development and cattle grazing.

    20101117_South_Ghost_FLUZ_v3_small.jpg
    FLUZ map: JPG | PDF

    20101117_South_Ghost_IRP_v3_small.jpg
    IRP map:  JPG | PDF

    A twenty-year Forest Management Agreement (FMA), signed in 2001, gives exclusive forestry rights 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 the use of the area for recreation, and a source of clean water, should be more important uses.

    Access in the South Ghost is currently managed under the Ghost Waiparous Access Management Plan (GAMP) released in 2006. GAMP is designed to provide opportunities for recreational use while maintaining the area’s natural resources. In the plan, emphasis is placed on the managing of recreational OHV use and random camping in the area.
    The plan includes a map and detailed descriptions of the types of trails and their uses. Motorized recreational activities are managed using a network 600 kilometers in length of designated trails.

    Other aspects of the plan include :

    • The ability of Forest Officers to close trails in response to environment and safety concerns.
    • Increased partnership and stewardship roles for community, stakeholder and industry groups.
    • Increased focus on education and enforcement to raise awareness about appropriate trail use.

    The Ghost Stewardship Monitoring Group (GSMG) is a diverse group of stakeholders who deliberate and recommend how best to implement the objectives set out by GAMP.

    Summary of Key Directives impacting management of South Ghost area:

    Public Lands Act 47(1)
    A person who occupies public land and

    • (a) is not the holder of a disposition authorising the person to do so, is deemed to be a trespasser and any improvements created by the person are the property of the Crown.

    Public Lands Act 54(1)
    No person shall cause, permit or suffer:

    • (d) the doing of any act that may injuriously affect watershed capacity,
    • (e) the disturbance of any public land in any manner that results or, in the opinion of the Minister, is likely to result in injury to the bed or shore of any river, stream, watercourse, lake or other body of water or land in the vicinity of that public land,
    • (f) the creation of any condition on public land which, in the opinion of the Minister, is likely to result in soil erosion.

    Forests Act 10
    Except as may be authorized by the Minister, no person shall

    • (a) cut, damage or destroy, or
    • (b) cause to be cut, damaged or destroyed any forest growth on forest land.

    Ghost River Sub-Regional Integrated Resource Plan (1988)

    • To allow for the development and use of the full range of available resources while minimizing adverse environmental impacts on watershed and renewable resources.
    • Indiscriminate use has the potential to cause additional impact on the terrain, vegetation, wildlife and water quality.
    • To provide a range of opportunities for summer and winter recreational off-highway vehicle use.
    • To minimize conflicts between recreational off-highway vehicle users and other users.
    • To minimize environmental impacts thorough the management of recreational off-highway vehicle use.
    • Alberta Environment and the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development will monitor water yield and quality in the planning area to ensure the maintenance of a high-quality water resource.
    • The frequency of stream crossings will be minimized to lessen point sources of sedimentation.
    • Reclamation projects will be initiated and completed based on provincial reclamation policies, approval of an access management plan and availability of funds where the responsibility rests with the provincial government.
    • To maintain and/or increase the quality and quantity of aquatic habitat conducive to maintaining high water quality and supporting fish populations at optimum densities.
    • To protect spawning, overwintering and rearing areas, and migratory routes crucial to the survival of specific fish populations.
    • An access management plan will be prepared for the entire planning area to determine an access network suitable for summer and winter recreational off-highway vehicle use. In the development and approval of the access management plan, public education and regulatory strategies under the Forests Act will be considered as implementation mechanisms as required. The access management plan will be developed on a co-operative basis and will be subject to involvement and review by interested government resource management agencies, local authorities, the general public and public interest groups. More specific guidelines are given, as necessary, on a RMA basis.
    • Snowmobile use will be considered and permitted on selected routes in Zone 1 when approved through the access management plan. Snowmobile use will be permitted only under certain circumstances in Critical Wildlife (Zone 2) areas providing critical ungulate winter range.
    • Existing trails and roads will be examined to determine and provide an access network suitable for recreational off-highway vehicle use through the development of an access management plan. In the development and approval of the access management plan, public education and regulatory strategies under the Forests Act will be considered as implementation mechanisms where required to manage motorized recreational access.
    • Motorized recreational vehicle access in the Devil’s Gap area near Banff National Park will be addressed through the access management plan.
    • Alberta’s Commitment to Sustainable Resource Management
    • Alberta’s air, land and water shall be protected and maintained for the health and enjoyment of Albertans,
    • In addition to forest and water plans, there will be plans which provide specific direction and resolve resource conflicts or issues (e.g., integrated resource plans, park plans).

    A Policy for Resource Management of the Eastern Slopes (1984)

    • The highest priority in the overall management of the Eastern Slopes is placed on watershed management. Recreation and tourism benefits from the private and public sectors are also extremely important.
    • The natural resources of the Eastern Slopes will be developed, managed and protected in a manner consistent with principles of conservation and environmental protection.
    • The uniqueness of the Eastern Slopes, due to its aesthetic qualities and combination of environments, will be maintained.
    • The recreation resources of the mountains and foothills will be maintained while increasing opportunities for Albertans to enjoy this unique region.
    • To increase the number of kilometres of long-distance trails in the region for hiking, skiing, horse-riding and OHV use.
    • The prime protection zone contains high-elevation forests and steep rocky slopes of the major mountain ranges. The intent of the prime protection zone is to preserve environmentally sensitive terrain and valuable ecological and aesthetic resources. Off-highway vehicle activity is not permitted within this zone, however approved snowmobile trails may cross this zone.

    Draft Detailed Forest Management Plan for Spray Lake Sawmills Forest Management Agreement (2006)

    • the primary use of the forest management area is “to establish, grow, harvest and remove timber.”

    Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (2008)

    • “Human use of access (specifically, motorized vehicle routes) is one of the primary threats to grizzly bear persistence.”
    • “In simple terms, regulating human use of access (specifically motorized vehicle routes) in grizzly bear range reduces the risk of human-caused mortality.”
    • Measures of success include : “Open route densities at or below 0.6 km/km2 in high quality grizzly bear habitat designated as Grizzly Bear Priority Areas… and open route densities at or below 1.2 km/km2 in all remaining grizzly bear range.”
      (Source: Ghost-Waiparous Access Management Plan Terms of Reference)
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. 

Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, 

and the storms their energy,

while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
- John Muir
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