Letters Sept. 20 - Mixed feelings about creating new provincial park

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Bighorn facts

Dear Editor,

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty tired of politicians perpetuating lies and misrepresenting facts to promote their personal or party’s agenda. Obviously people are going to hold different beliefs and opinions, but is it asking too much of our elected representatives to expect them to promote their ideas based on truth and facts?

In the Sept. 13 edition of The Lacombe Globe, Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr warns of the loss of our freedoms from establishing a new provincial park in his column. Orr is just repeating comments and “facts” put forth by Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason Nixon, instead of developing his own argument against development of the park.

Propagating misinformation only leads to promoting divisive feelings among groups who care about this matter.

For those not aware, the provincial government is looking at developing a new provincial park bordering the southern portion of Jasper National Park and the northern portion of Banff National Park up to Nordegg. The purpose of this is to protect a valuable piece of land as a wildlife corridor for animal populations moving along the eastern slopes of the Rockies and to protect the head waters of several major river systems, which are sources of much of our drinking water, from damage caused by human activities such as mining and expanding Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) use.

Orr’s comments would have you believe a conspiracy of the government and foreign interests, such as the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (a non-profit organization about as truly Canadian as they come), are working to exclude all human recreational activity such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and equestrian use within this proposed park.

Looking at the government, or “environmentalist” websites lobbying for this park, you won’t find any statement to this effect. In fact, they promote the continued use of these activities. The one recreational activity to be more regulated is OHV use. As with other environmentally sensitive areas in the province, OHV use is restricted for the same reason. Uncontrolled use causes substantial damage to habitat and wildlife. If this wasn’t true we’d all be free to ride quads wherever we wanted in parks. At the moment, the plan appears to limit, not ban, the operation of OHVs to less sensitive areas.

I believe a lot of work has been put into the area by the OHV community. There has to be recognition of this by the government, as well as recognition of the damage they cause by OHV users.

There’s lobbying on both sides. Companies like MEC are petitioning for the park in their stores. Orr would have you believe these people are less important citizens of Alberta just because they aren’t locals. Don’t we all care about making our province a better place to live? Why make this about us versus them?

I do agree with Orr when he said: “Learn how to organize. Mobilize people. Unite groups. Pressure government ministers.”

When you do so, base your actions on facts, not rhetoric and lies. Hopefully, if we let our politicians know how we feel, they will base their actions on truth and facts as well.

Brady Chabot,
Lacombe, Alta.


Don’t make Bighorn like the Castle area

Dear Editor,

I am writing to voice my opposition regarding the concept of creating a provincial park in the Bighorn area which would target Blackstone Wapiabi, Dormer Sheep, Job/Cline, Kiska/Wilson, Panthers Corners, Upper Clearwater/Ram.

I am a 66 year old avid outdoors enthusiast, fisherman, hunter, and until joint issues have been a keen hiker as well. I have spent a good portion of my life, since the age of 16, fishing and camping in many of the areas described above. Since my daughters were very young, our family loved to random camp, hike and fish in the Eastern slopes. Now they have children, and the family tradition of responsible random camping and fishing in these areas continues.

Sadly, more and more of this country is being cordoned off to become practically inaccessible. Due to joint issues, I now use a quad to putt down trails to my favourite fishing holes on the creeks and rivers I love. Now, a lot of this water is closed to our family due to area and trail closures. It appears that the Alberta government’s agenda is to ensure that much of this gorgeous back country is only to be seen by camping in a provincial park many families can’t afford to stay in.

Unfortunately, a lot of decisions regarding the Eastern slopes are a result of small interest groups influencing government decisions. One group is the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservative Initiative which is foreign-funded. Another group pushing for closures is the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Then there are the many people who have never set foot in this country who sign petitions demanding closures. When my grandson and I are fishing along rivers such as the North Ram, I have never seen any of these people out enjoying these beautiful spots on our planet. So many people make rash decisions because they see a distasteful picture of a quad going through a mud puddle on Facebook.

I’d be the first to admit there are irresponsible people who leave garbage, tear up sensitive terrain. More money should be spent on policing and education regarding negative impact activities instead of closures.

The majority of the PLUZ users are very responsible folks who are dearly about the well-being of these areas. When I pull into a camping area, 90 per cent of the time it has been left in immaculate condition. If not, we clean it up ourselves. We’re the caretakers of the West Country – not these people who look it up via Facebook or are members of small, special extremist interest groups with their own agendas in mind.

I’d hope the Bighorn area will not become like the Castle area. A fishing friend camped with his family in that area only to find it practically deserted and overgrown.

I’ve conversed with many people with a vested interest in the well-being of the West Country, and I guarantee nobody I’ve talked to favours more government interference regarding use of these areas. Unfortunately, few air their concerns to elected representatives.

The  new way of complaining is via social media so concerns become dead-ended.

-Jim Bruns


Don’t be duped by Trump’s dairy debacle

Dear Editor,

Our family has been dairy farming in the Lacombe area for 70 years. I continue to farm here with my wife and son. I’d like to comment on the debate on supply management as it’s important in our agricultural community.

Supply management is how we keep our milk local and support local businesses. That milk will not be cheaper if we don’t have supply management. In fact, according to A.C. Neilson, milk is cheaper in Canada than the U.S.

Under NAFTA, Americans want access to our market because they have a serious milk over supply problem. However, the state of Wisconsin produces more milk than all of Canada, so it wouldn’t take long before they would just fill up Canada too. I have quota to produce milk, so this over supply and waste doesn’t happen in Canada. Our industry is self-sufficient and we don’t get a dime in subsidies from the government (unlike every single other dairy market in the world).

Canada also has higher quality standards for milk compared to American milk. Why would we want a lesser quality product?

I support agriculture commodities that rely on exporting. It’s possible to defend the interests of all different types of farmers that exist in our community.

Supply management is a solution that works for Canada and our community will be negatively affected if we get bullied into a bad NAFTA deal.

-Albert Kamps,
Lacombe County, Alta.


Money well spent

Dear Editor,

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 50-year reunion of the Class of 1968. I’m not involved with the organizing committee and my comments are my own.

I drove eight hours from Regina, but some of our attendees came from far away in Canada, some from long distances in the U.S., and one lady from Australia made the reunion part of her North American Tour. Many took the time to come from all across Canada to visit and reunite with classmates and share memories and stories. We unfortunately have lost some over the years.

I do not have the exact number of attendees; Rob King would, but to the best of my recollection there were about 143 attendees out of 175 1968 graduates. Thank you also to the spouses and guests who also attended.

It was heartwarming and great to see that we did have some of our teachers there with us. I want to say a heartfelt thank you to them for attending. Spouses also attended and had some interesting and “koole” stories to tell.

I am so thankful that we had very professional and very dedicated teachers who gave us a great foundation from which to launch our careers or to support us through the rest of our lives.

A quick thank to all of the organizers of the Class of 1968 Reunion. I understand it took about a year to organize and you did an absolutely outstanding job.

A thank you to the gentleman from the school who took the time Saturday afternoon to tour us around the school and provide us with a look at the updates and give us some history on the changes, additions, the fire and the removal of that absolutely beautiful amphitheatre. I cannot write words to publicly express my level of disgust with the persons or organization responsible for that.

One special and most important thank you, which I feel obligated to give, is to the taxpayers and ratepayers of the then-Town of Lacombe, Lacombe County, and the people of Alberta. I am not sure what the original cost of building the composite school was. I would suspect in the millions, but from the depths of my heart I want you to know that even through you may have thought the cost was outrageous at the time, that investment supported an education for man that lead them to careers and to ahve lives that supported their local communities in Canada and in places around the world in trades, ranching, farming, nursing, engineering, chemistry, computing and management. I can’t remember them all.

Your money was well spent and was not wasted. Thank you.

-Gregg Shaw,
Regina, Sask.