For immediate release: Tues., Sept. 7, 2010
Stop Castle Logging Volunteers Get a Boost from Long-Weekend Campers
Beaver Mines, Alberta: Some area residents, small business owners and outdoor enthusiasts gave up part of their Labor Day long-weekend to work in sunshine and rain to alert the hundreds of campers in the Castle Special Management Area of the local MLA’s and Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) Minister Mel Knight’s decision to schedule the centre of this popular Special Place for clear-cut logging. Located west of Pincher Creek on public forest lands between Waterton Lakes National Park and Crowsnest Pass, the Castle is listed by Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation as one of Alberta’s 81 Special Places. Much of the area slated for logging is on the government’s land-use plan zoned as Critical Wildlife and along with Beauvais Provincial Park, zoned as General Recreation (not “multiple-use” which is multiple industrial uses including logging).
“SRD didn’t hold public consultations before they decided to log the Castle and we found almost half camped there (47%) didn’t know at all of the pending logging, let alone where they could send their concerns,” said Phil Hazelton who lives near the Castle. “It was a great morale booster for us hearing the camper’s support for protecting the Castle from the logging.”
The volunteers spent Saturday and Sunday of the long-weekend handing out flyers to campers, getting a sense of where people who recreate in the area come from and collecting signatures on a petition. West of Beaver Mines near the entrance to the Castle, a sign reads, “Help us! and gives a website address with information: http://www.stopcastlelogging.org. People were given the addresses for Minister Knight and his Parliamentary Assistant and local MLA, Evan Berger, so they could send their concerns directly to them.
On the long-weekend, 155 campsites were visited and despite running out of petitions on Saturday, 256 signed against the logging. There were first time visitors and those who have been coming to the Castle for more than a decade, some 30 to 40 years. People come from as far north as Red Deer, as far east as Medicine Hat and from all over southern Alberta, as well as a few from BC and outside Canada. The largest portion (38%) came from Lethbridge, with the next largest numbers coming from Calgary (15%) and the immediate local area (14%).
In 1998, according to the Alberta Government’s highlights of their Special Places decision, it had added the 1040 sq km Castle area to “Alberta’s protected areas network” as “a milestone in the preservation of Alberta’s natural heritage for future generations.” Spray Lake Sawmills, located in Cochrane, west of Calgary estimates they will now be taking 3,750 truckloads of logs from those public lands for their Cochrane mill more than four hours haul away. The logging license, which will consist of clear-cut blocks, is centered in the midst of the Castle’s five Provincial Recreation Areas (campgrounds) and Scout Canada’s Camp Impeesa.”
“By their comments on the weekend, there’s no question that people value the area. Most were about the logging, with many comments ranging from its tragic to crazy,” observed Jolaine Kelly, who with her husband owns a nearby bed and breakfast.
“We will continue to keep raising awareness to stop the logging and instead leave the area intact. We want to keep it as a place where the priority is watershed protection, outdoor recreation and tourism as the government committed to in the land-use plan,” said a determined Karin Buhrmann, who also lives nearby. “What’s next, are they going to insist on logging Beauvais and Waterton too?”
For more information http://www.stopcastlelogging.org and contact:
Phil Hazelton, 403 627-4407, Gladstone Valley, MD Pincher Creek, firstname.lastname@example.org
Karin Buhrmann, 403 627-5365, Gladstone Valley, MD Pincher Creek, email@example.com
Jolaine Kelly, 403 627-5128, Beaver Mines, firstname.lastname@example.org