Poll shows Albertans support protecting K-Country from logging
'They recognize this is where their water comes from. They also recognize its importance for wildlife'
A new poll shows high levels of support in Calgary and rural towns for protecting Kananaskis Country, along with strong opposition to logging in the area.
The random telephone and cellphone survey was commissioned by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative based in Canmore. It found 68 per cent of the 800 people polled are opposed to logging.
"Calgarians want to see Kananaskis Country protected," said Stephen Legault, program director with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.
"They recognize this is where their water comes from. They also recognize its importance for wildlife and the local economies of many communities in the area."
The poll comes as B.C.-based companies Balcaen Consolidated Contracting and Canfor Forest Products are due to start clear cutting an area around Highwood Junction later this summer.
"This is an area a lot of people are familiar with," said Legault. "It's the landscape immediately around Highwood Junction, where the forestry trunk road meets Highway 40. There's a gas station there a lot of people sort of use as a landmark. It's a very popular area for hiking and hunting, and there's a local trapline in the area."
Neil Williams from Black Diamond is a hiker and part of the group Take a Stand for the Upper Highwood.
He says it's not the right area for clear cutting.
"There are some ways you can log without having a huge impact to wildlife and tourism, and to do it in an environmentally sensitive way. We would prefer that they look at other places."
Right now, only half of K-Country is protected from industry, but the poll shows 76 per cent of people want the whole area protected.
And Yellowstone to Yukon wants the provincial government to take a fresh look at what it says is decades-old logging policy, with hopes the survey results will help with its case.
The poll was conducted at the end of June and beginning of July in the Calgary area by NRG Research Group. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.46 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
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With files from Dan McGarvey