Canmore, AB - The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y) is encouraging Albertans to join the dialog about the future of the province’s threatened grizzly bear population by filling out the Government of Alberta's survey on the draft Recovery Plan for the species.
“Albertans love wildlife, and they love that we live in a place that still has wild creatures like grizzly bears,” says Stephen Legault, Program Director for the Crown, Alberta and the NWT for Y2Y.
The province released its Draft Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan on June 1st and Albertans have until July 15th to fill out an online survey to provide their thoughts on the plan.
“This plan marks an important step forward in our effort to protect grizzly bears and the places they need to live,” says Legault. “There are, however, a few areas that need improvement.”
Legault notes that the new plan changes the way the province measures linear features like off highway vehicle (OHV) trails, seismic lines and roads and could result in higher levels of disturbance in core grizzly bear recovery zones. “When you combine a higher tolerance for roads and OHV trails with a proposed increase in acceptable human-caused mortality in the Bow Valley, Kananaskis country and the Castle parks, it could mean this plan fails to protect grizzlies the way Albertans expect it to.”
“The fact that the Porcupine Hills have been removed from the recovery zone is also a major problem,” says Legault. The area is now listed as a “support” area which means limits on road density and other protections will be dropped.
“We should be stepping up our efforts in Kananaskis, the Castle and the Porcupine Hills rather than sacrificing these areas because they are harder to manage, and roads and trails are harder to measure,” says Legault. “Keeping grizzly bears in our Rocky Mountains and foothills makes Albertans proud and is part of our identity. We need a recovery plan that meets those aspirations.”
The Alberta Grizzly Bear Recovery Strategy and survey can be found here.
Albertans have until July 15th to complete the survey.