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There has to be a balance between conservation and development

Posted on January 21, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

Families who have been farming and ranching the land in southeast Alberta for decades, if not more than a century, should not have to worry about their livelihoods being put at risk for any reason.

These days, not only do family farms have to worry about what the outcome will be with the provincial government and its South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, but also the environment ministry of the federal government and its emergency protection order put in place to protect species at risk.

There is a very good reason why these families have been able to farm these lands for 100 years and more. It is because they are already good stewards of the land, a fact some environmental groups fail to consider.

Recently in an interview with the Commentator, Alberta Wilderness Association executive director, Cliff Wallis, stated more than once that there should be no development whatsoever in the southeast corner of the province and his reasoning goes beyond protection of the Greater Sage Grouse.

In fact, in the same week, he, on behalf of his organization, filed his feedback regarding the proposed South Saskatchewan Regional Plan and in the document, he states that the plan does not go far enough in regards to conservation.

It really makes one wonder what this man’s true objectives are because he sure doesn’t give a hoot about his fellow Albertans who are working and caring for the land he wants to protect.

No fence or road building, but ranching is alright. Hmmm, how the heck is one supposed to ranch if he can’t build a fence to hold in his cattle, or prairie trail of a road to get to them. Never mind that Wallis doesn’t want to see power lines installed and even would like to see the removal of some buildings and settlements. Forget any oil and gas exploration and drilling.

As MP LaVar Payne has stated, there needs to be a balance. If there is no industry, no development, how does Wallis think his conservation projects will get funded. Likely through more half-truths paid for by supporters.

People can live and work in harmony with Nature. Ask any farmer who uses no-till practices and can coserve water with the best of them Ask a rancher who rotates where to graze his herd and whose family immigrated to the area a centurty ago.

These people will tell you more about the flora and fauna of the area than any first-year university biology student ever could.

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