In Canada's wild, primeval places we can find a sense of place and time. They are our connections to our shared histories and a pillar in our bridges to the future. It is within wilderness that we, as society, learn that we are not full masters of the earth; that there are processes at work older than humankind itself and far beyond our present grasp of knowledge. Wilderness is valued as the library of manuals on how the earth's ecosystems work. Wilderness preservation is symbolic of society's recognition of values beyond human use; that nature has value in itself. Wilderness is cherished as a means of maintaining our sanity and, increasingly, as a reservoir of hope. In its preservation we can find security from the possibility of over-development, and from the domestication and loss of the human spirit.
In 1915, the Canada Commission of Conservation's Committee on Fisheries, Game and Furbearing Animals in their Report on the Eastern Slope of the Canadian Rockies stated:
"The cougar is rare and the timber wolf almost nonexistent, while the prairie wolf [coyote] is very abundant. All three are noxious animals, dangerous to both domestic stock and game and should be destroyed."
Will we preserve enough wilderness for tomorrow to safeguard against our mistakes of today?
Information and Resources
Now is the ideal time to send a short letter of encouragement to the Alberta Premier. The Premier together with the ministers responsible for provincial parks and the Sustainable Resource Development Department are considering establishing the 1,040 square kilometer Castle wilderness as a park in tribute to Andy Russell. Please take some time today to join Robert Bateman, the Right Honourable Joe Clark, Sid Marty, Farley Mowat and Dr. David Schindler in writing letters to Premier Klein. Encourage the Alberta Government to proceed with establishing the Castle as the Andy Russell – I’tai sah kòp Wildland Park in memory of Andy and Kay Russell, and in recognition of the Piikani First Nation.
Nestled in the western corner of Alberta, north of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, this critical piece of Rocky Mountain ecosystem is 1040 square kilometres of breathtaking beauty. We are focussing on fostering its protection and establishment as an integrated Wildland and Provincial Park under the Alberta Provincial Parks Act.
What better way to celebrate Alberta’s 100th birthday than with a lasting gift of parks and wilderness?
Alberta was alive with ancient histories and vast tracks of wilderness prior to 1905. Although most has since been transformed, some wild places and the human connections with them still remain. The stories and observations of the first peoples and Euro-Canadian explorers connected with today’s wild lands and rivers give us a doorway to what the primeval continent – the original – was like.
Located in west-central Alberta, Bighorn Country rests astride that magical zone where the Boreal meets the Rocky Mountains. It is Alberta’s best remaining opportunity to protect a wilderness example of this. Here the Boreal is a biological mixing bowl where a wide variety of plants and animals from the Arctic, Boreal, Rocky Mountains, Parkland and Plains regions come in contact with each other. In the Bighorn, this unique range of biological diversity includes everything from the powerful Grizzly Bear and shy Lynx to the threatened Canadian Toad, the Great Grey Owl and the tiny Calliope and Rufous Humming birds.
High in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, astride the continental divide between those waters flowing to the Arctic Ocean and those to the Atlantic, lies a wildland rich in history and nationally significant for its biological diversity. Named in 1910 for its park-like landscape, the proposed park of 461 km2 is one of the most extensive mosaics of alpine and sub-alpine habitats found in the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains. Its protection is also essential for maintaining the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park, a United Nations designated World Heritage Site. It is key to securing a future for the region’s grizzly bears and other carnivores.