Ghost Waiparous Plan May Not Protect Water and Wildlife

Alberta Wilderness Association

News Release: May 19, 2006

The recently released Ghost Waiparous Access Management Plan (GAMP) does not go far enough to protect watersheds and wildlife in our Eastern Slopes. Nor is it a suitable template for access management planning throughout Alberta. AWA believes that management plans must have watershed and wildlife habitat protection as a priority, be based on scientific principles, and have high standards for implementation and measured outcomes.

"We are pleased that this plan is finally out, but the vision of the GAMP to protect water resources is not supported with on the ground action," says Nigel Douglas, AWA Conservation Specialist. "We are concerned that this may become the template for future access management plans." AWA has followed the process closely since 1988, when the need for an access management plan was first identified.

"The vision of this plan, and all future access management plans, must be translated into action on the ground," says Heinz Unger, AWA Board of Directors. "The wisdom of an access management plan that looks only at motorized access and ignores the impact and access of those using the area on foot is one example of the short-comings of the plan."

The Ghost Waiparous, like wildland areas throughout Alberta, is a crucial area for a number of reasons. It is an important source of water for the City of Calgary and is significant for its wildlife populations. Cities across Canada are increasingly looking at better management of watersheds as an alternative to costly water treatment. Off highway vehicles are known to cause damage to watercourses.

AWA is concerned that the plan does not go far enough to achieve the long term vision of the GAMP plan to "protect the valuable water resources of the eastern slopes and to provide for public land and resource utilization in a manner consistent with principles of conservation and environmental protection."

For more information:
Nigel Douglas, AWA Conservation Specialist: 403-283-2025
Heinz Unger, AWA Board of Directors: 403-851-7632