I wanted to express my appreciation for the letter to the editor which was selected for publishing in the most recent edition of the Western Wheel regarding the planned shutdown of around 165 parks and recreation areas in the province.
I have also sent a letter to Mr. Sigurdson and Minister of Environment and Parks, Mr. Nixon, to suggest that the long term unintended consequences of this action seem to greatly outweigh the modest short-term “savings”.
Highway 40 in particular is a world-famous drive, which people from all over the world come to appreciate. Closing the rest areas down makes this destination less appealing and more likely to be abused. I am also deeply concerned about the effect that lower provincial oversight will have on the likelihood of pollution and erosion in our waterways due to heavier traffic from off-highway vehicles (for an example of the damage these cause, take a drive up McLean Creek Trail, or down to the PLUZ at Indian Graves).
The erosion caused by this activity in the hills and mountains reduces the resilience the landscape to flooding events, which is particularly front of mind for me as a “flood refugee” from High River. Mostly though, I worry about the loss of cultural value from parks, recreation areas, and interpretive centres. These facilities help Albertans gain an appreciation for the land we live in.
I worry about a society that doesn’t value connecting to nature.