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Amphibians and Reptiles of Alberta (CD-ROM)

A CD-ROM recording of individuals and choruses of amphibians and reptiles of Alberta by Cottonwood Consultants. Includes: Plains spadefoot western toad, Great Plains toad, Canadian toad, boreal chorus frog, wood frog, Columbia spotted frog, northern leopard frog, bullsnake, prairie rattlesnake.

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Bighorn Wildland

Since the early 1970s I have been keenly aware of the treasure we have so close at hand in the unspoiled, wild and beautiful Bighorn Wildland. This is, perhaps, because I have had the privilege of experiencing wilderness in other parts of the world both similar and vastly different from Alberta’s Eastern Slopes Rockies. My travels abroad suggest that in other countries this magnificent piece of wilderness would be recognized for its natural values and therefore coveted and protected. The words of American wilderness writer Michael Frome, in his book Battle for Wilderness, express some of the frustration I feel over the lack of official interest in and understanding of the value of Alberta’s wilderness: “How much wilderness does it take to fulfill the needs of civilization? That really isn’t the key question. What counts more is whether each succeeding generation must settle for an increasingly degraded world and know the experience of the past from books and pictures only. Must the future be satisfied with mediocrity because nothing better will be known?”

For more than thirty years Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA), other conservation groups, area outfitters and many members of the general public have fought for legislated protection of the Bighorn Wildland. They have worked for many years with the government in order to fulfill this dream. Despite sustained, scientifically sound and eloquent oral and written representations, our wish to have this exceptionally special place afforded real protection has not been achieved. Recent decisions legally open much of the Bighorn Wildland to offroad vehicle and helicopter-assisted recreation, and there is increasing pressure to develop its petroleum reserves. In addition, there have been recent increases in drilling, logging and off-road vehicle recreation just outside its boundaries. All of this makes the ecological integrity of the area increasingly precarious. Will the Bighorn’s future be one of continued splendour or of degradation?

This book has been designed and written to tell the story of the Bighorn Wildland. It is also an invitation to become more personally involved in its destiny. I hope that this book will create an impetus for action on behalf of the Bighorn so that future generations will be able to experience it as we do now.

Vivian Pharis

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The Eastern Slopes Wildlands: Our Living Heritage

A Proposal from the Alberta Wilderness Association

The Rocky Mountain chain stretches from the Yukon Territory to Mexico, but it is here in Alberta that the mountain peaks are the most dramatic. The Eastern Slopes Region is the province's most distinctive area, the place where the Rockies first rise from the plains. Although most of us would like to believe the Eastern Slopes are still untouched, much of the area has already been greatly changed. Most of this man-made change has occurred rapidly since the early 1950s. In many places, exploration roads, oil and gas wells, pipelines, stripmines and logging operations have left their mark on the land.

The Alberta Wilderness Association believes that the remaining wilderness lands on Alberta's Eastern Slopes should be set aside now from further development. These are the proposed Wildland Recreation Areas, those few remaining natural land areas in the Eastern Slopes whose preservation can ensure that Albertans never lose the opportunity to experience and understand nature's frontier -- our living heritage. Today, none of these wilderness lands is protected by legislation, even though public hearings and an opinion poll in 1973 found that the majority of Albertans supported proposals for their protection.

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Rivers on Borrowed Time

Alberta's rivers are vital and complex, a precious flowing heritage. As trustees of the river resource, our challenge is to manage rivers wisely, leaving to future generations a resource enriched by our stewardship. Today, none of Alberta's rivers outside the national parks are guaranteed protection or wise stewardship.

Rivers on Borrowed Time challenges Albertans to support an option for action. Stressing the need for natural and recreational river legislation, this booklet has two objectives: to demonstrate the value of Alberta's rivers, and to present a plan of action to preserve and enrich them.

The challenge is immediate because our rivers are in jeopardy, a limited resource under acute pressure. More and more of them are being dammed. Piecemeal development of riverscapes is being forced by a rapidly growing population with more leisure time and higher incomes. Adding to these pressures, industries and communities continue to pollute streams unnecessarily.

Decisions must be made soon, before our remaining free-flowing rivers are permanently changed. As trustees, Albertans cannot afford to squander opportunities for preservation and enrichment, opportunities lost through neglect and poor planning.

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The Western Swan Hills

The Swan Hills, particularly the western parts, are in certain respects unique among Alberta’s wilderness areas. The summer rainfall here is higher than in most of Alberta with the result that the frequency of fires is low and there is a great deal of old-growth timber, some at least 300 years old. Many mountain and northern plants reach the eastern or southern limits of their ranges here. There also occur a few plants that are highly localized in Alberta, plants which are usually more characteristic of the wet belts of British Columbia. Wildlife, too, is diverse. The grizzly, most famous of all the Swan Hills creatures, is represented by a very large local race.

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Willmore Wilderness Park

In the pages of this book an attempt is made to introduce the reader to the Willmore and to its outstanding wildland recreation values. Extensively used by non—Albertans in the past, it is only now becoming popular among Albertans for summer hiking and trail—riding, and autumn hunting trips. The Willmore is a wilderness intended for trips of a week or longer, a wilderness that still provides a challenge to even the most experienced backcountry traveller.

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Elbow Sheep Wilderness

The Elbow-Sheep River headwaters encompass a broad range of terrain, wildlife and plant growth within the Forest Reserve and except for some fire access roads most of the area has been relatively undisturbed by the activities of man. The grassy mountain meadows and protected upland valleys provide ideal summer and winter range for sheep, goat, elk, moosem bear, deer and lesser gauna. These areas can provide solitude and relaxation for the harried urban dweller.
Herein it is proposed that a Wilderness Recreation Area of some 560 square miles be designated.

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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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