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June 1st, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 21
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Limiting backcountry motorization
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Spray Lakes Sawmills representative Wade Aebli speaking at a stakeholders meeting at the Elks Hall.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
On May 26, over 100 stakeholders including loggers, ranchers, miners and environmentalists gathered in Blairmore’s Elks Hall to discuss a linear footprint management plan for the Porcupine Hills and Livingstone Range areas.

The plan calls for limiting the overall amount of road or trail open to motorized access to 0.6 kilometres per square kilometre. Studies have shown that anything above that leads to ecosystem degradation and decreases in biodiversity.

“In some places there is three times the amount of trail that is sustainable,” said Robert Simieritsch, regional resource manager with Environment and Parks. “If we’re going to have a healthy watershed and biodiversity, we need to manage the footprint.”

The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) specifies that some areas will receive more protection than others. Key headwaters, areas of sensitive habitat and other areas important to biodiversity will be subject to the heaviest restrictions.
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The land is being divided into zones to implement the plan. Critical Management Zones will be the most restrictive followed by Enhanced Management Zones and Integrated Management Zones.

Simieritsch said the draft linear footprint management plan would be ready by the fall of 2016.

Environment and Parks is also developing a recreation management plan, which will address specific trails and ways of building recreation systems.

“This is one stage of a couple conversations we’re hoping to have with people in the community,” said Simieritsch.
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June 1st ~ Vol. 85 No. 21
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