Stop Castle Special Place Logging & Drilling
Castle Falls / Beaver Mines Lake to be logged and
sour gas drilling approved
Your prompt action is needed to save this premier, natural water-tower and popular outdoor respite for southern Alberta; one the Government of Alberta had said is a protected area. Coined as Alberta's Costa Rica along the backbone of the continent, it is the province's most biologically diverse area, one of 81 designated Special Place protected areas (Castle is #40) and a key part of the international Crown of the Continent ecosystem and geotourism area. A critical-class, sour gas (poisonous natural gas) well to be drilled by Shell Canada has just been approved there and block-cut (commonly called clear-cut) logging by a sawmill located outside the region is to start in the heart of it this June. Its short-term jobs at the expense of local, long-term ones associated with tourism and outdoor recreation, and at the expense of an irreplaceable wildland. Such large-scale logging has not occurred in the Castle 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.”
Like the logging, Shell's Waterton 68 drilling site on Mount Backus is located in wildlife habitat that for decades has been zoned by the province as Critical Wildlife, "crucial to the maintenance of specific fish and wildlife populations." It includes that for rare plants and the recovery of grizzly bears, which are listed as a Threatened species by Alberta.
Spray Lake Sawmills, located west of Calgary, plans to take what they estimate as 3,750 truckloads of logs from the core of the protected area, less than a mile west of the drilling site. It totals 5% of the timber for their mill during their 2010-14 operating plan. The Sustainable Resource Development Department (SRD) issued the logging license and approved expansion of it; all without public consultation and ignoring the 1998 protected area decision. The 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 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 the end & write your letter in it, using your
own words and making use of tips below. You can change the wording in the subject box. Click to
send when done. Copies will also automatically go to local MLA, Evan Berger, the SRD Minister and 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 and Parliamentary Assistant for the SRD Minister. Let him know of your opposition.
• Print & post the poster with maps & photos. Download the poster in PDF (1.74 MB) or JPG (199 KB) format,
open 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.
• Blog and write letters to the editor (and encourage others to do the same) to alert the public of the Castle issue
and inform them of the Facebook page.
• Ask friends & family to join the action and send them the link to 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 here (http://tinyurl.com/4v7pp7y)
TIPS FOR WRITING LETTERS
- • State what the Castle Special Place / Special Management Area means to you.
• Ask Premier Stelmach to stop the pending logging and drilling, and to instead strengthen the protected area
by legislating it as a Wildland Park.
• Use your own reasons and/or draw from the action alert above.
• Ask that your concerns are represented in the Alberta Legislature.
• Request a reply.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
• See www.albertafoothillsnetwork.org, including Tourism & Recreation Industry Advisory Regarding Alberta,
• Poster with maps & photos: PDF (1.74 MB) or JPG (199 KB).
• Read the Government of Alberta’s highlights of their 1998 protected area decision.
• Proposal from local citizens’ initiative (www.castlespecialplace.ca) and pamphlet .
• On Facebook: Stop Castle Logging. If you're not on Facebook, see the page here (http://tinyurl.com/4v7pp7y)
• Stop Castle Logging Blog (www.stopcastlelogging.org)
YOUR LETTER: See tips above and include that you want your letter used in the Alberta Legislature, so your MLA can do that.