By Philip Nykyforuk, CPAWS
Our population in Alberta is growing and changing. For many years, we have welcomed newcomers from across Canada and, indeed, around the world.
It is wonderful to see these newcomers exploring and learning to enjoy what our natural environment has to offer. CPAWS SAB plays a vital role in teaching new Albertans about nature and encouraging them to explore our amazing province.
As Alberta’s population grows, it is important that we expand our network of parks and protected areas. This has been our priority for many years. We played a lead role in helping to create many of the protected areas in Kananaskis, and more recently, we played a key role in advocating for the creation of Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park in the southwest corner of Alberta.
The creation of any protected area requires collaboration and cooperation with groups and individuals with different voices, backgrounds and perspectives, including Indigenous communities. The common thread among these diverse groups is that they, like a huge majority of Albertans, treasure our province’s natural beauty, fresh air and clean water. They all share a desire for conservation.
In our drive to create new protected areas, we have worked with a broad coalition of people throughout southern Alberta — conservation groups, hiking groups, anglers and hunters, as well as long-time Albertans, new Albertans, youths, seniors, Indigenous people, rural Albertans, city dwellers and others.
Conservation is not a partisan issue nor a political issue. It is part of the fabric of our province and part of who we are as Albertans.
We are all defined by the land that we share as our home and the majesty that’s just beyond our doorsteps. It is in our common interest to come together to ensure that the most special places are preserved, protected and carefully managed. This is, and always will be, at the very core of the mission of CPAWS SAB.
Philip Nykyforuk is Board Chair for CPAWS Southern Alberta.