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Public Lands Should Not Be Sold

December 13, 2018

Peace River Country. Photo © AWA Files

In a recent speech, Jason Kenney, Leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP), expressed interest in selling a significant area of public lands in Alberta’s northern Peace River Country should the UCP win the next provincial election. The sold parcels would then be converted to agricultural land.

Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) opposes the sale of public lands and is concerned that through the years, sales have continued without meaningful and transparent public participation. These are Alberta’s public lands; they are owned by the general public, and therefore, need to be kept within the public realm.

“The proposal to sell public lands is concerning, especially given the historical lack of transparency surrounding public land sales. Alberta doesn’t have a formal policy that triggers public consultation on public land sales,” says Nissa Petterson, AWA Conservation Specialist. “Albertans need an opportunity to participate and comment on how this public resource is managed.”

AWA is concerned that the sale of these public lands would result in the loss of important native vegetation. The area falls within the Boreal Forest Natural Region, a landscape of extensive mixedwood forests and wetlands. Northern wetlands are not only important habitat for wildlife, but they also provide essential ecological services such as water retention, water filtration and carbon capture, helping to buffer climate change impacts.

“Our public lands, and in particular wetlands, are incredibly important for our health and wealth, and act as a critical source of water and carbon storage,” says Carolyn Campbell, AWA Conservation Specialist. “We are concerned that the proposal to convert wetlands and other natural habitat into cropland may not have a net carbon benefit but may release more carbon emissions, in addition to eliminating wildlife habitat and corridors.”

Since the founding of the organization, AWA has consistently defended the natural integrity of Alberta’s public lands and the need for a publically developed policy that addresses the sales, management, access and conservation of Alberta’s public lands.

For more information contact:
Nissa Petterson, Alberta Wilderness Association, 403.283.2025
Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association, 403.283.2025

A journey into the wilderness is the freest, cheapest, most nonprivileged of pleasures. Anyone with two legs and the price of a pair of army surplus combat boots may enter.
- Edward Abbey
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