Alberta announces draft management plan for Castle Parks


A few weeks ago the Alberta Government released the draft management plan for the new Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Park. Their reason is to preserve this unique ecosystem to protect the rare and species at risk, protect the headwaters that supply 1/3 of the water in the Oldman watershed and rehabilitate the damage that has been done by years of miss use and resource extraction.

The Castle combined park and wildland is in the most south west area of Alberta and is 105,179 hectares in size. The draft management plan was released after three months of public consultation, stakeholder workshops and first nations. The Alberta Hiking Association was fortunate to be involved in the workshops.

One of the proposals in the plan is phase out ATV use in the next three to five years. The focus of the plan is for non-motorized use such as hiking and cross country skiing. The draft plan talks about repairing existing trails, decommissioning redundant trails to create a trail system that will minimize the impact on the watershed and biodiversity. The plan talks of developing both backcountry designated camping as well as random camping in areas that can support it. The backlash from the motorized groups has been fierce in their opposition to the plan. They have spent thousands of volunteer hours developing trails for ATV use over years and do not want to lose them.

The AHA is very supportive of the new draft plan and want to encourage all who also support the plan to let the Alberta Environment and Parks know. Motorized users are flooding the process with hundreds of comments. You can support the plan online, by email or by mail:
Attn: Senior Parks Planner
Alberta Environment and Parks Division
Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park Draft Management Plan
4th Fl Administration Building
909 - 3 Avenue North
Lethbridge, AB T1H 0H5

Your help is needed to ensure non-motorized voices are heard. The deadline for submissions is March 20th.

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