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Government Failing To Manage Recreation Impacts In Bighorn

Alberta Wilderness Association

News Release: August 19, 2004

Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD)
is failing to manage the environmental impacts of
recreational activity within the Bighorn Wildland.
This lack of management is putting Alberta's
wilderness, wildlife, and watersheds at risk of
further degradation. AWA is calling for immediate
action to protect Alberta's wilderness from poorly
regulated and poorly enforced recreational activity.

"Recreation is a privilege in the Eastern Slopes. The
rights of all Albertan's to have clean drinking water
and protected wildlife habitat and populations must
take precedence over recreation," says Lara
Smandych, AWA Conservation Biologist. "AWA is
committed to the protection of wild lands, water
and wildlife in Alberta and supports responsible
traditional and motorized recreation in appropriate
areas."

AWA is undertaking a 4-year study to monitor the
effects of recreation in the Bighorn Wildland. AWA
has documented widespread off trail use and severe
soil and vegetation damage. Numerous occurrences
of out of season use by motorized vehicles were
recorded during the vulnerable calving period in May
and June. The results clearly indicate the
government's negligence to enforce Forest Land
Use Zone regulations.

In a direct response to concerns expressed by
AWA, Alberta's Minister of Community
Development, Gene Zwozdesky, identified that
the management of recreation on public land in the
province is inadequate. In a June 2004 letter to
AWA, he wrote "The lack of meaningful regulation
around recreation activities in many areas has
resulted in little or no control over what types of
use can occur, where and under what conditions."

AWA will continue its trail monitoring projects in the
Bighorn for the next 2 years. "AWA maintains that the
Bighorn Wildland must be designated as a Wildland
Park and that damaging recreational activities must
be prohibited," says Adam Ford, AWA Outreach
Specialist.

For more information please contact:
Lara Smandych, AWA, 403.283.2025
or visit www.AlbertaWilderness.ca

Posted August 19, 2004 by russ

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