The Green Party of Canada fully supports the citizens who are holding a picket-line protest in order to prevent clear cutting in the Castle Special Management Area of southwest Alberta. “This area has been set aside to preserve Alberta’s natural heritage. There should be no commercial logging in an area designated as protected,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands.
The picket line began on January 11th to prevent the construction of roads by Spray Lake Sawmills who want to harvest 120 hectares of trees in the Castle Wilderness area west of Pincher Creek, near Beaver Mines. The Alberta government has threatened the protesters with trespass citations.
The Green Party of Canada urges the Alberta government to instead consider the value of the forested area in terms of ecosystem services, tourism potential, and water purification, and put in place legislation to protect the area permanently. “We need to understand that the value of these forests is far greater when they are left standing,” said May. “Short term industrial exploitation is not worth damaging an area with such immense ecological significance.”
The Castle wilderness area provides one third of all water in the Oldman Watershed, has profound sacred value to the area’s First Nations, contains over 120 provincially rare plant species and 59 species of mammals, and is critical habitat for endangered grizzly bears.