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Crowsnest Forest Stewardship Society projects

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Jun 14, 2023

Society worked on several projects around the Pass after Ed Gregor Stewardship Day.

On the first Saturday of June, the Crowsnest Forest Stewardship Society hosted the Ed Gregor Stewardship Memorial Day at locations around the Crowsnest Pass.

As an organization, they have a number of different projects, although the number of projects this year was less than years prior. Work at Chinook (Allison) Lake has been done annually with projects taking place there frequently.

“I was looking at the sign at the bottom of the lake and we did a big project there in 2014,” said John Macgarva with the Crowsnest Forest Stewardship Society, “It’s been a historic thing, but we did some other things [like] garbage cleanup. This year we finished off an Atlas historic sign project.”

As the Stewardship Society toured the area before the commencement of work, Macgarva said they were “lucky” to have the area’s new MLA show up for a visit. He spoke about how they had been unsuccessful in getting MLAs to visit the society’s projects.

“Less than a week after the election she showed up and it was low pressure just showing her around,” said Macgarva.

He also commented on the work done by the government going down to the lake. He wondered how many “hundreds of thousands” were spent at Chinook Lake.

“The switch back trail is all public money there. I can’t believe what they spent on that. The trail around the lake is just pretty primitive compared to that,” explained Macgarva. 

He added that the late project had nothing to do with the Stewardship Society. Although they don’t have the scale of funds the government has, he said their volunteers “work away” on the projects that have made the Stewardship Society what it is today.

“We’ve had lots of other projects over the years. We were formed in 1994 and the reason we were formed is because Castle [Mountain Park] has always been under pressure to be transformed into a park by different government agencies. All the user groups got together, because we’re very aware that often when you have a provincial park, and it is true in Castle now since 2017, that it’s very restrictive on which user groups can use it,” said Macgarva.

Macgarva was always in the forest industry, and he said being on all those land use initiatives has helped him see how important multi-use areas are. He recognized the Stewardship Society has had its “ups and downs” but has always remained dedicated to its mandate, which is to supply stewardship projects so the residents can provide volunteer labor to ensure crownland is kept from being damaged by the various multi-use groups active in the area. 

“We get donations. We don’t push very hard for donations as the stewardship society, but we can issue tax receipts,” added Macgarva.

For anyone wishing to join the volunteer organization, Macgarva said it is a “pretty laid-back organization” which only meets three times a year.

“I don’t feel too bad our numbers were down this year, but everybody came to work... We had 65 or 70 this time, all committed folks who believe in multiple use [areas],” said Macgarva.

The Ed Gregor Stewardship Memorial Day is held on the first Saturday in June. Macgarva said they are looking forward to next year and hope to have more volunteer groups taking part.

More information can be found at the group’s Facebook page,

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