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Support Protection of the Castle Parks!

January 26, 2017

On Friday January 20, the Premier announced increased protections for the Castle Provincial Park and Wildland Provincial Park. Expanding the previously announced Castle Wildland Provincial Park boundaries to increase protection of headwaters and species at risk, as well as a decision to eliminate recreational off-highway vehicle (OHV) use from both parks are part of the increased protection for this area. The decision and protection recognizes the overwhelming body of science that shows recreational OHV use at current or substantially reduced levels is incompatible with conservation goals for our headwaters and of the park. Please write to the Premier and contact your MLA to thank the government for these important decisions.

However, despite this significant step forward, our work is far from over… With the announcement came the release of the draft management plan and your input is important. The proposal to continue off-highway vehicles in the Provincial Park for up to 5 more years places ongoing stress and risk to our species at risk including westslope cutthroat trout and AWA believes this phase out needs to be expedited. You can help by fully engaging in the consultation process and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. As always, I really appreciate receiving a copy of your letters, send them to my email at jskrajny@abwild.ca

-Joanna Skrajny, Conservation Specialist

Take Action

1. Write to the Premier, The Honorable Rachel Notley at premier@gov.ab.ca
and contact your MLA to let them know that you support increased protection and eliminating off highway vehicles (OHVs) in the Castle Parks.

2. Engage fully in the Management Plan consultation process:

Complete the Survey on the Castle Management Plan online at: https://talkaep.alberta.ca/CastleManagementPlan/survey_tools/castle-provincial-park-and-castle-wildland-provincial-park-management-plan-survey

AWA has prepared a companion guide to help you through the survey. It is available on our website: https://albertawilderness.ca/castlesurveycompanionguide/

 

 

If you only have a couple of minutes, here are some important things to consider while completing the survey:

  • Question 4: Caution – This question is ambiguously worded – for example, you might answer that you ‘ strongly disagree’ with a transition period if you  believe that off-highway vehicles should be out of the parks immediately, OR if you believe that off-highway vehicle use is a compatible use. Please clarify your answer in the comment box on Question 7 by referring to Question 4 and explain why you agree or disagree with a transition period.
  • Question 14: Section 6 deals with hunting, off-highway vehicles and other recreational opportunities. Refer to the management plan or our guide (link above) for more details on what is being proposed.
  • Question 16: There is an error on this question, it references Section 6 while the question is regarding  Section 7
  • Question 18: The current proposal is for both parks to consist of natural landscape zones, however, large portions of the Wildland Provincial Park may be more suited to a Wilderness Zone designation to conserve the larger undisturbed wilderness landscape of this park.
  • Question 28: Please complete this question so that there is an indication of what activities you have participated in the Castle area or what you will anticipate participating in the future. If you have not been to the Castle, check the activities you enjoy in other parks and protected areas in Alberta.

You can also give written feedback of the management plan:
– Write to the Minister of the Environment, the Honorable Shannon Phillips at aep.minister@gov.ab.ca and cc ABParks.PlanComments@gov.ab.ca
The Issue

Protecting the Castle 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. 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.

The phaseout of off-highway vehicles has been proposed in order to allow time for the Government of Alberta to identify more suitable areas and to determine appropriate sites to allow OHV use on other public lands. This work by the government could be completed in less than the currently proposed 3-5 year window. Please consider supporting either an immediate elimination of motorized recreation or an expedited phase-out so that protection and restoration of this special area can begin.

 
Important links:
Draft management plan

Information for how to get involved

FAQs

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