ONLY $7.00

(includes shipping)

 with Rob Miskosky

Meeting the 17% Commitment

Recent tweets made by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) twitter account had me thinking about Alberta’s commitment to “17 percent protection of our natural landscapes by 2020.” This, of course, is because of Canada’s international commitments under the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity to, “By 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.” I wrote extensively about this in December 2016 (

“The Bighorn Heritage ATV Society works hard to maintain
trails and promote responsible ATV use.”
The AEP tweets were, “23% of Alberta’s Rocky Mountain natural region is currently protected by @Albertaparks and 35% is protected by @ParksCanada” and “Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and foothills account for 17.4% of the province’s area.”
In Alberta, there are three pieces of legislation (Provincial Parks Act; the Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Natural Areas and Heritage Rangelands Act; and the Willmore Wilderness Park Act) in force that give us eight different types of protected areas. The big eight are, Wilderness Areas, Ecological Reserves, Heritage Rangelands, Natural Areas, Provincial Parks, Wildland Provincial Parks, Recreation Areas, and Willmore Wilderness Park.

With a push towards the Bighorn Backcountry becoming a Wildland Provincial Park, more than 5000 square kilometres between Jasper and Banff National Parks could suddenly see severe restrictions on public use, including camping, trail riding, etc. This push will certainly add towards Alberta’s goal of 17% protection by 2020.

In Alberta, a Public Land Use Zone, or PLUZ, is “an area of public land to which legislative controls apply under authority of the Public Land Administration Regulation (187-2011) to assist in the management of industrial, commercial, and recreational land uses and resources.”

Currently, the Bighorn Backcountry is a PLUZ, six of them if you will. And as far as I can tell, there is NO industrial activity taking place in any of the six PLUZs that make up the Bighorn; therefore, what is the issue?

Oh yah, those nasty ATV users and random campers. Yes, there is evidence of ATV use damaging critical habitat but why can’t a commitment to enforcement of designated trail use curtail these problems? Why do we have to legislate against so many public activities rather than enforce existing laws and rules?

In my mind, Public Land Use Zones (PLUZ) should also be included on the list of eight types of protected areas. And what about Provincial Grazing Reserves (PGRs), especially those in southern Alberta. Why are they not included in the list of eight, which would help immensely in reaching that 17% commitment? Both PLUZs and PGRs restrict industrial activity while allowing for controlled recreational use. To me, it seems quite simple and keeps all outdoor users happy. Maybe I’m an idealist, but banning outdoor activities doesn’t sit well with me. If we want to ban something, maybe we should ban banning things, which appears to be the  common solution to many perceived problems. ■

For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.

Sports Scene Publications Inc.
10450 - 174 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5S 2G9
Phone: 780-413-0331 • Fax: 780-413-0388

Privacy Policy

© 2017 Sports Scene Publications Inc. All Rights Reserved