Stop the destruction of the Castle Wilderness!
The following is an excerpt from an article from the Tyee. It is posted here to summarize the situation that protesters are facing right NOW in the Castle Wilderness area. They are facing arrest and eviction on Wednesday. The Premiers office does not have an answering machine service set up, and their office closes at 5pm MST. They re-open at 8am, and the Premier has asked for a head count on how many people call up in support of this issue! Please take a moment to call: 780-427-2251
"Government enforcement actions against citizens opposed to logging in a world famous Alberta watershed will likely cost taxpayers more money than total timber revenue.
"This is clearly an example of government waste," says Gord Petersen, a local resident and member of the ad hoc Stop the Castle Logging Group.
The Alberta government has responded with a massive enforcement effort against mostly senior citizens trying to respect water and wildlife," adds Petersen.
Since Jan. 12 scores of protestors, including grandmothers and two 77-year-old ranchers (all supported by thousands of Albertans), have sought to prevent the removal of 3,750 truckloads worth of timber by Spray Lake Sawmills from the core of the Castle wilderness area. The region is located south of Crowsnest Pass along the BC border.
Local foresters estimate the logging permit will generate no more than $100,000 worth of income for the government from stumpage fees and that only 60 per cent of the timber slated for cutting can be turned into dimensional lumber.
"That revenue won't even cover the damage to the public roads," suspects 56-year-old Petersen. "It's welfare logging that benefits a private company at the expense of the public interest."
After peaceful protestors stood in front of logging machinery last week on a public road, government officials issued a flurry of legal paper including a development notice, a trespass notice, an enforcement order and now a court order.
The enforcement order, which the group is appealing as an infringement of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, even banned protestors from occupying or using "any other public lands in the Province of Alberta unless otherwise authorized to so."
(Andrew Nikiforuk, http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Environment/2012/01/31/Alberta_Launches_Legal_Attack/)
Help support the protesters who are protecting this important area of the Prairie ecosystem!
Call Premier Redford immediately and tell her to stop the logging of the Castle Wilderness Area! Call as early as you can, as the enforcement order is for Wednesday!
Premier Alison Redford
307 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue
Honourable Frank Oberle
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
420 Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue Edmonton, AB
Honourable Evan Berger
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
MLA Livingstone Macleod
228 Legislative Building
10800 - 97 Avenue, Edmonton, AB
Honourable Diana McQueen
Minister of Environment & Water
425 Legislature building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Backgrounder:- The Castle is part of the headwaters for the Oldman River, which feeds over two million people across the prairies - The Castle contains core habitat for Alberta's threatened grizzly bears - Protecting the Castle will help protect the entire Crown of the Continent Ecosystem, and fight the effects of climate change - The Castle Special Place is a unique region of irreplaceable spiritual, recreational and ecological values - This area is becoming increasingly degraded. Logging the Castle will affect local tourism operators, as the land is cleared of the beauty that attracts tourists
Logging in the Castle Mountain area could mean the end to an already threatened and dwindling grizzly bear population, says the Sierra Club of Canada.
The area west of Pincher Creek between Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes National Park is home to about 51 grizzlies that roam both sides of the border, and in a couple weeks logging trucks moving in will diminish that number, claims Dianne Pachal, Sierra Club of Canada’s Alberta Wild Director.
“The size of Castle is about the size of the average home for a male bear,” she said.
“From a grizzly bear perspective, it’s not that large so logging impacts that whole ecosystem.... Read more »
... Read more »
CALGARY - Conservationists say the Alberta government needs to clamp down on traffic in sensitive backcountry habitat to provide protection for the province's dwindling grizzly bear population.
Alberta's grizzly bear numbers stand at less than 700 and prompted the government to ban hunting the last few years and to declare the animals threatened under Alberta's Wildlife Act.
But problems with all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and other vehicles remain despite the ban.
"Nobody was ever saying the grizzly bears are in trouble because of the hunt and nobody was ever saying that removing the hunt was going to fix the problem," said Nigel Douglas, a conservation specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association.... Read more »
ALBERTA - Sierra Club Canada and the Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition are maintaining that while it is important to have the Alberta Sustainable Resource Development’s Parliamentary Assistant, Evan Berger, representing the government today at the international Crown of the Continent Round Table in Polson, Montana, the province needs to replace its spin with actual conservation action, instead of the actions thwarting conservation in Alberta’s portion of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem. ... Read more »