West Bragg Creek Trails Master Plan Engagement – Online Survey Open Until Jan. 24th
January 9, 2022
In early December Alberta Environment and Parks opened a window to engage the public about the development of the West Bragg Creek Trails Master Plan. The West Bragg Creek trail network is operated by the non-profit organization, Bragg Creek Trails, in partnership with Alberta Environment and Parks. It’s located in the North East Kananaskis RMU map shown below.
The engagement is looking for Albertans’ view on the purpose, objectives, principles, and planning considerations as outlined in the draft Terms of Reference.
Those Terms of Reference, access to the survey, and other related documents may be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/west-bragg-creek-trails-master-plan-engagement.aspx
I encourage you to complete the survey. The draft Terms of Reference note that this area “is multi-use, including recreation, Indigenous traditional land uses, cattle grazing, petroleum extraction and forestry.” “Multiple use”…this long-lived government approach to land use management arguably has become, over the passage of time, a serious obstacle to sustainable human use and enjoyment of our landscapes. Landscape integrity often suffers from government insistence that all users may be accommodated.
The online survey doesn’t invite you to comment about whether the multiple use approach is still compatible with vital ecological purposes such as “maintaining watershed integrity.” (Maintaining such integrity is incorporated into the declared purpose of this Master Plan.)
What I would urge you to consider doing with this survey is answering yes to the question: “Do you feel that there are issues or concerns missing from the “Operations and Management list?” Then…express your concern about industrial activities in this area (forestry, petroleum, grazing). Tell AEP that the priority should be sustainable recreation that supports/complements the plan’s endorsement of watershed integrity. Encourage the government to phase out forestry, cattle grazing, and petroleum activities on this landscape.
I think it’s especially important to do that since AEP framed this survey as supporting “Alberta’s common-sense conservation plan…” When government uses the phrase “common-sense” my spidey sense starts to tingle. AWA deeply appreciates the work Bragg Creek Trails has done to operate and maintain this trail network but we also worry that, under the current minister of Environment and Parks, common-sense is synonymous with more and more delegation of operations and management responsibilities to the private sector. We should be wary of this. It’s the reason why, when I filled out the survey, I also included a concern about increasing privatization in my list of additional operations/management issues for consideration.
Regardless of whether you share these concerns, please take the opportunity to contribute your views to this online engagement.
Ian Urquhart, Executive Director