Thursday, August 28, 2003

Southern Rockies Management Plan Announced

The Honourable Stan Hagen, minister for Sustainable Resource Management, announced the Southern Rocky Mountains Management Plan on August 28, 2003. We support the SRMMP because of the public process and because the plan does a pretty good job of balancing wilderness values with recreation and industry.

The plan does not open ANY new access and in-fact now constrains ATVs to existing hard surface trails. Some areas, particularly the Flathead and Wigwam, are now completely closed year-round to motorized vehicles except for main road surfaces. But the areas still remain available for hunters and for limited industrial activity. While it's true that many people who've been using the backcountry responsibly for decades no longer have access to some places, we all need to see the big picture and understand the forces at work against our elected officials before throwing up our hands.

Despite the open and public process, and the support by 37 of 40 involved stakeholder groups, a few groups continue to complain that the process didn't consult the stakeholders.

Stan Hagen spoke to the Fernie Chamber of Commerce on April 22nd, 2003 regarding the CPAWS proposed "Peace Park" expansion of Waterton into the Flathead valley. Bill Bennett, MLA East Kootenay, also spoke against the park and explaining that his constituents do not support it. Jim Abbott, Alliance MP and Heritage Critic shot the CPAWS marketing brochure full of holes, particularly the claims of funding and that an office would be established in Fernie.

We must stop this park, and we must stop the unnecessary and relentless closure of our backcountry! This park would forever put an end to hunting & recreational access in that area, and would continue to grow northward over the coming decades as part of the Y2Y "conservation area". Our government needs the support of we who live here. The Flathead National Park proposal is a huge threat backed by multi-million dollar groups based out of the United States.

For a sense of what we're up against, please view our Y2Y page.

For recent access maps, please see the Recreation Management Strategy web site.

Elkford held meetings on October 2 and 7, 2002. The meetings were attended by 121 and 56 people respectively. Bob Forbes, Wildlife Biologist for the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection gave an excellent presentation on the wildlife values in the upper Elk Valley. The four species of concern include elk, sheep, goats, and moose. Only sheep and goats are yellow listed, but populations are strong. Winter range is the primary concern for motorized recreation, we need to stay at least 300m away in winter.