The Bow Valley Naturalist speaker series kicks off 2017 with Katie Morrison, Conservation Director with CPAWS Southern Alberta, speaking on Sustainable Recreation in Alberta: From Policy to Practice, Tuesday (Jan. 24)
Alberta offers a diversity of outdoor recreational opportunities which significantly contribute to our quality of life. Alberta is home to some of the world’s best landscape for recreation. The demand for outdoor recreational opportunities is growing as the population grows.
However, recreation can also affect the very places people are out to enjoy. We can literally love our parks and wilderness areas to death if we don’t have a plan for sustainable use for the future.
Certain activities can lead to displacement of wildlife, degraded waterways, damaged habitat and ongoing conflict. We are starting to see the cumulative effects of doing whatever we want anywhere, anytime on the land and water and this is not sustainable over the long term.
CPAWS surveyed Albertans to better understand public behaviour, attitudes and opinions related to outdoor recreation and use of public lands. Survey results clearly show Albertans are active outdoors, value resources like water over recreation or industrial development and want more wilderness protected.
Survey results point to the fact that what Albertans overwhelmingly want for the landscape is quite different than what they get from the land use planning processes which can rely disproportionately on a few industries and recreation user groups that are vocal but have very small membership.
This tells us the values of the wider public need to be better incorporated into land use decisions, these decisions need to be enforced, and municipalities need to be given the authority and tools to enforce these plans. With respect to national parks, the conservation-first mandate has taken a back seat to a push for growth which has resulted in incremental development and increased pressures in these areas.
Morrison is a professional biologist who has been working in the environmental sector for over 15 years. Her academic and professional experience allows her to work on designing adaptive management solutions towards achieving landscape conservation and healthy communities in Southern Alberta. She is also an avid outdoor recreationalist and particularly loves hiking, backpacking and canoeing our northern rivers.
All are welcome to this free event at 7:30 p.m. at the Banff Seniors Centre (upstairs 107 Bear Street).