Alberta Government kicks public out of protected area so Spray Lake Sawmills can begin clear-cutting

BEAVER MINES: This afternoon, Alberta Government’s Sustainable Resource Development Department (SRD) issued a notice closing part of the popular, year-round recreation core of the Castle Special Management Area to public use. That includes closing it to a legal camp of a second-generation outfitter and a picket-line by local residents - the presence of which was holding back Spray Lake Sawmills from starting up its equipment to bulldoze new roads and clear-cut the protected area.

The notice was issued under the new Public Land regulations passed last September as part of the Land Use Framework for regional planning in Alberta. Today it is being used as a tool to preempt regional planning and violate a designated Special Place protected area.

Those on site have contacted their lawyer.

At time of issuing this news release, only the media has received written information from government communications and those present at the camp. SRD for years has advertized the area as open to random camping .

The Castle Special Management Area is located west of Pincher Creek, Alberta. It is still on the government website as a Special Place protected area (the 40th established, which the Alberta Cabinet designated in 1998 "for the preservation of Alberta's natural heritage".

For interviews or more information:

  • Gordon Petersen, Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition: 403 627-3732 [email protected]
  • Mike Judd, local outfitter: 403 627-2949
  • Peter Sherrington, Beaver Mines, 403 627-352, [email protected]
  • Dianne Pachal, Sierra Club Canada, 403 234-7368