'They're loving it to death': Videos aim to protect Alberta's eastern slopes from destructive human activity
Growing visitor activity is taking an environmental toll on the landscape, local landowner says
A group of ranchers and landowners in southwestern Alberta have put out a series of videos talking about the ecological value of the eastern slopes of the Rockies, and the impact of growing human activity.
The videos are aimed at encouraging the province to protect critical backcountry habitat.
The breathtaking view from Ted Smith's porch near the Oldman River ranges from rolling grasslands to tree-covered foothills and the conversation among those soaking it all in is about protecting it.
Smith says growing visitor activity is taking an environmental toll.
"It's mostly just trampling of the land, more or less, and erosion," he said.
Shawna Burton and Raymond Nadeau run nearby ranches in the Porcupine Hills.
All three have contributed to videos, where local landowners talk about the ecological value of the land and the need to find better ways to manage the area, including some off-highway vehicle activity.
"Everybody loves it," Burton said. "They come here for the beauty of the hills, but they're loving it to death."
"Just the sheer volume is huge," added Nadeau. "Absolutely."
Connie Simmons with the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative said the conservation group is urging the provincial government to consider all of this as it develops a new recreation plan for the area.
"How are we actually going to protect our source waters?" Simmons said. "How are we going to have something for the future?"
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