I would like to submit this letter to reiterate my concerns over the development of the Castle Mountain Provincial Park and Wild Land Park.
I am a 43-year-old married woman with two (now adult) daughters. My husband and I are currently living in Taber, however we also are property owners in Hillcrest. We have camped, hunted, fished, hiked, photographed and ATV’d in the forestry around the Crowsnest Pass for many years. During this time, I was taught how to respect the land, environment and the animals which we may or may not encounter. This is how my daughters were raised.
I question why children, college and university students in our current educational system are learning to fear that everything we touch will be destroyed? Why is the thought process of environmental management so radical?
I would like to see more education in the following areas to ensure that our rural way of living is not lost: Role of the Fisherman and Hunter, Fishing and Hunting Ethics, Wildlife Management & Conservation, Wildlife Identification, Clothing & Equipment, Firearms & Bow Hunting, Survival, Field Techniques, First Aid, Hypothermia, Provincial and Federal Regulations and use of Off Highway Vehicles and proper driving etiquette.
I believe our youth are becoming distant and isolated with our current lifestyles. Why not introduce them to activities which include enjoying the outdoors? Today’s youth certainly have an overload of sedentary and indoor activities with cellphones, computers and TV including Xbox’s or whatever is the fad currently. How as a government can you sit by and take recreational activities away from our youth? Does our government want youth to sit on their butts playing video games, drinking, doing drugs, vandalizing and procreating?
Not all youth have the privilege to play sports or join youth groups. The majority of families have both parents working trying to pay the bills, including the new carbon tax, which leaves our youth needing activities to provide fulfillment in their lives. In creating this park, you are now taking these activities away.
I become very defensive when someone is telling me how much we are ruining the environment in an area where they perhaps have never even visited. How can a citizen in the city such as Calgary or Edmonton who has never visited the Castle Mountain area, be able to give an opinion on how the area should be used?
Currently there are pictures, environmental studies (paid by the government and not third party), and public opinions out there stating that activities including hunting, fishing, camping and OHV use are destroying the Castle Mountain area along with other forestry areas in the province. I disagree. I believe that there is lack of funding from our federal and provincial governments in maintaining and policing these areas. Are public roads not normally maintained and given a budget to maintain a certain safety standard?
What little funding (which has been begged for) is given to make repairs to trails, bridges and roads citizens of this province are matching if not doubling/tripling in volunteer hours.
I believe that the area needs to be managed and maintained. That is why we volunteer at different events, including the local Quad Squad events and also the local community stewardship for example, to help clean up or help repair areas which have been affected during the spring runoff.