Public forests made into fenceposts and garden mulch.
In Alberta, public lands in the foothills are being clearcut at a rate faster than they can recover with little opportunity for public input or understanding. Forests, Fins & Footprints is a community-funded documentation of clearcutting in the Ghost Valley — a watershed located just upstream of Calgary, on the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Wondering how to make a difference, we asked for answers from environmentalists, biologists, geologists, and people who live and work on the land. How does clearcutting affect an area's water, landscape, and wildlife, as well as the people living in that watershed? How will clearcut forestry impact the future? And how can we as a society move forward more thoughtfully?”
list of showings
Canmore, Alberta — Showing & Info Session
June 4 — 6:30pm — ArtsPlace
$5 Tickets at Door
Calgary, Alberta — Free Documentary Double Feature
July 3 — 7:00pm — Cardel Theatre, Quarry Park
get tickets here
"IT'S NO LONGER ABOUT REMOVING A CUTBLOCK HERE AND ADDING A BUFFER THERE. WHAT WE REALLY NEED IS BIG PICTURE SYSTEMIC CHANGE... YOU HAVE A STAKE IN THIS."
By becoming aware of areas slated to be clearcut in the Southern Eastern Slopes of Alberta and the consequences that come with current forestry practices, you (the public stakeholders and tax payers) are able to show the government what needs to be changed regarding Alberta's forestry practices. Every isolated protest can amount to a larger systemic change and doesn't go without notice.
The ultimate goal is to influence policy makers to update the forestry act to increase public participation and to officially adopt a mandate of ecosystem-based forest management. These changes would mean that public stakeholders and the people most affected would be consulted prior to government approval. It also means ecological integrity, intact watersheds, connected landscapes and sustainable local community economies would be made a priority when approving logging operations.
What Can you Do?
1. Know your stuff
It can be intimidating writing letters and having open discussions on what is going on when you don't know what points to make. Here is an awesome document created by CPAWS that outlines what's going on and what needs to change. Sections 3.6 and 4 can help with points on how Alberta can do better.
2. WALK THE LANDSCAPE
Educate yourself on the current areas slated for clearcut. If you see orange tape on your next hike, chances are it could be clearcut within the year. Contact Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to get answers to your questions.
Write a letter, phone in, or send an email. The public helps educate the government on what needs to change so remember your value! We are currently developing a template to help you write a personalized letter.
If you live outside of Banff-Cochrane call: 403.310.0000 and ask for your MLA
5. SPREAD THE WORD
It is one thing to say you love nature and it is another to protect it. Share what you have learned and remind others that it is our responsibility to care for this land.
7. stay up to date
There are other communities fighting for the same cause in Alberta. Let's create systemic change and learn from one another. Here are some links to our fellow public land protectors.
3. be proactive
Find cut blocks before they are flagged and approved. Check maps on local logging company websites and attend open houses. Legally, logging operations have to consult the community before logging public lands. It is our responsibility to be in the know.
who to contact:
Minister of Environment and Parks
Shannon Phillips, Honourable
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Oneil Carlier, Honourable
6. be a conScious consumer
Know where your wood products are coming from — fast growing forests or slow growing forests? Regrowth or old growth? Think twice before using wood products that are not a necessity, like garden mulch.