Action Alert: Save Castle Special Place

February 23, 2011
Castle Falls / Beaver Mines Lake slated for logging

Your prompt action is needed before March 14th to save the popular Castle Special Place / Special Management Area located within Alberta’s portion of the Crown of the Continent from block-cut  (commonly called clear-cut) logging by a sawmill located outside the region.  See Action Checklist below. Spray Lake Sawmills located west of Calgary is set to start logging operations June 10th and plans to take what they estimate as 3,750 truckloads of logs from the protected area over two logging seasons.  It’s short-term jobs at the expense of local, long-term ones associated with tourism and outdoor recreation.  Such large-scale logging has not occurred in the Castle Special Place since 1998, when the Government of Alberta announced it had added it as the new Castle Special Management Area to “Alberta’s protected areas network.”  The Government described it then as “a milestone in the preservation of Alberta’s natural heritage for future generations.”
The Sustainable Resource Development Department approved the logging last year for the logging license they had issued to the sawmill in 2005 and for the sawmill’s requested expansion of the license; both without public consultation and ignoring the 1998 protected area decision.  Spray Lake Sawmills and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development are intent on logging the Castle Special Management Area despite:
  • No pine beetle outbreak and it being at low risk of a future outbreak from this native Rocky Mountain beetle.
  • Regional land-use planning stipulating watershed protection, tourism and recreation as the highest priorities for the area; not block-cut/clear-cut logging.
  • Since 1934, the historically most extensively logged drainages in the Castle (those of the Carbondale) being where all the major fires (> 2 sq. km) have occurred.
  • Few intact forests in Alberta’s southern headwaters and less than 9% of the Castle remaining with trees over 150 years of age, when the natural landscape there should be a third old-growth forests.
  • The Castle providing an unsurpassed 1/3 of the annual water flow for most of southern Alberta; specifically the water stressed, Oldman River Basin and its 70 municipalities, including Lethbridge.
  • Write a short letter to Premier Stelmach. Use the white box at Write your letter in that box, using your own words and making use of tips below (also at the above link).  You can change the wording in the Subject box if you wish.  Click to send when done.  Copies will also automatically go to local MLA, Evan Berger and the opposition MLAs: Bridget Pastoor, Liberal; Paul Hinman, Wild Rose; Rachel Notley, NDP; and Dave Taylor, Alberta Party.
  • After you send your letter, please take a moment and call MLA Evan Berger (403-553-2400). Berger is the local MLA. Let him know of your opposition.
  • Print & post the poster with maps & photos. Download the poster in PDF (1.74 MB) at or JPG (199 KB) and print with your computer’s picture printing function at letter size and post, or for more impact, save to memory stick & print at ledger size (11″ x 17″) at a local print shop & then post in public places.
  • Ask friends & family to join the action and email them this action alert.
  • Stay in the news & action loop by “liking” Stop Castle Logging on Facebook.  If not on Facebook, you can still view our page at
  • State what the Castle Special Place / Special Management Area means to you.
    Ask Premier Stelmach to stop the pending logging of the Castle.
  • Use your own reasons and/or draw from the action alert above.
  • Ask your concerns to be represented in the Alberta Legislature.
    Request a reply.

Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Industry Advisory

February 23, 2011

A Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Industry Advisory has been in circulation, in regards to the logging scheduled for June 2011, in the Castle Special Management Area. So far, 23 businesses have signed on to this advisory, in an effort to halt the logging.

The purpose of the advisory is to inform Alberta businesses and prospective businesses to be aware that the land base in the tourism and outdoor recreation sector in Alberta is not secure, even under the pretense of presumed protective designation, such as areas zoned critical wildlife, prime protection (ie. watershed protection) and general recreation. Such lands have to be legislatively protected if businesses want to be certain that these lands won’t be sold for resource development without public notice or consultation, by the Government of Alberta. Presently facing such a threat are local businesses making use of the Castle Special Management Area. These businesses span from the Crowsnest Pass to Lethbridge and beyond. Land areas such as the castle, that are not protected by legislative designation exist all over Alberta, and could also be slated for commercial logging or other such development, thus drastically impacting the natural settings that local tourism and outdoor recreation businesses rely on for their livelihoods.
You can assist the businesses that are issuing the attached Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Industry Advisory regarding Alberta, by:
  • Signing onto the advisory, if your are also an Alberta tourism or recreation business.
  • Asking Premier Stelmach to stop the pending block-cut (commonly called clear-cut) logging in the Castle Special Place / Special Management Area.
  • Asking Premier Stelmach to generally provide more certainty of protection for the natural landscapes that the tourism and recreation industry depend upon.

Click here for a copy of the Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Industry Advisory.

Logging Scheduled to Start June 10. Time to Write Again!

February 21, 2011

The latest information we have is that logging operations are to start on June 10!

Meetings have been held with opposition MLAs discussing how logging will affect tourism in the region Their assistance was sought to stop logging in the Castle. Here is a copy of the briefing note title Tourism and Recreation Industry Advisory, 2011 that was given to each MLA.

Letters are needed before March 15th to be of help to those Opposition MLAs wanting to question and hold the government to account for the SRD logging decision.

Please address letter to the Premier, with a copy to MLA Evan Berger  and the oppostion MLAs. Good to also follow-up with a phone call to one’s MLA after letter sent.

In the letters, be sure to ask the addressee to raise your concerns in the Legislature and to reply to your letter. That will allow any of the MLAs below that wish to, to read your letter out to the rest of the Legislature, which resumes work Feb. 22nd.

Premier Ed Stelmach
307 Legislature Bldg
10800 – 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5K 2B6
Phone:(780) 427-2251
Fax:(780) 427-1349

Evan Berger, MLA Livingstone-Macleod
P.O. Box 69
Fort Macleod, AB  T0L 0Z0
Phone: 403 553-2400
Fax: 403 553-2133

Harry Chase, MLA Calgary-Varsity (Liberal, SRD &TPR critic)
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
201 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 1E4
Fax:(780) 427-3697

Rachel Notley, MLA Edmonton-Strathcona (NDP, SRD, ENV &TPR critic)
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
501 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 1E4
Fax:(780) 415-0701

Paul Hinman, MLA Calgary-Glenmore (Wild Rose, SRD & TPR critic)
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
502A Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 1E4
Fax:(780) 638-3506

Dave Taylor, MLA Calgary-Currie (Leader, Alberta Party)
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
401 Legislature Annex
9718 – 107 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5K 1E4
Fax:(780) 638-3958

Presentation to SASCI Meeting, Dec 7, 2010

February 21, 2011

Here is the PowerPoint presentation (12.7 Mb) we made to the open meeting hosted by the Southwest Alberta Sustainable Communities Initiative (SASCI) on Dec 7, 2010.

Beaver Mines Lake

Beaver Mines Lake