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The Way I Feel

Posted 4/12/2018
To all Albertan outdoor recreational users,
I am writing to all groups today to urge you to pay close attention and understand what is happening to our access to Alberta’s most important resource, public lands. The current government has decided, with minimal scientific fact and significant pressure from one powerful, foreign funded organization, that the Eastern slopes are being misused by the general public, and they have put forth a plan to correct what they perceive to be a problem with only one solution; reduce the public footprint on these public lands. I implore you to understand what their plan entails, and have your voice be heard; this “plan”, when you read through the multiple pages of opinion (not facts) contained therein, would have us believe that the only true path forward is to have the government decide what activities are appropriate for those lands. The plan clearly points to developing these areas to achieve more tourism activities, so I find the plan in and of itself to be contradictory at best, but nonetheless that plan already has significant forward momentum.
This is where I take issue with the plan, and the process; there has been very minimal, selective amounts of public consultation. I will remind you of what happened in the Castle Park scenario; the decision was made to move forward with the government’s plan, and subsequently many user groups have lost their access to an area where they derived a significant amount of enjoyment. When that happened, I knew that it was only a matter of time before other areas would be on that same radar. That time is now, my most frequent destination, the Livingstone range, which I use for many activities from hiking to fishing to random camping, is now on the list for the same, ‘Land Use Planning’. I know what that puts at risk, and I am not willing to let this happen again without a fight.
The Livingstone-Porcupine range is not the end; the Bighorn Backcountry is on the radar, as well as the North Saskatchewan Region. I am not willing to say I didn’t try and defend our access, both for selfish reasons, but also for the greater public good. We need to unite to have a strong voice! If you are a concerned person, a landowner, a hiker, a fisherman, a hunter, a random camper, or an OHV user, we need you to speak out. I urge you not to sit there and let this happen, do not sit there and say we have lost again, we will be your voice and we will speak out. Enough is enough, let’s get together and hold the elected officials accountable to make well informed, honest, science based decisions to ensure that we leave our land in good condition (better than we found it), ensure that all recreational users have their rights protected, and ensure that our voice is heard.
Speaking for myself, and my peers, we formed this group to represent hunters, to have our voices heard. We need your support to make our voice louder. Please share this with everyone you know who is disappointed in the current situation and wants to improve it; we know that there are thousands of people that share our sentiment, and we need each and every one to make the time to take a stand.
All the best!
Justin
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