Caribou Running in their own Death Race

Concern for threatened species raised at Grande Cache Event

Alberta Foothills Network: A collaboration of international voices that are committed to the protection, restoration and the establishment of Protected Areas, and socially and ecologically sustainable development in the Endangered Foothills Natural Region of Alberta.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 3, 2006

Local and international environmental groups are joining the migration of over 900 of the most extreme runners in North America to Grande Cache for the community’s largest event – the annual Canadian Death Race. Considered the toughest race in Canada, the 125 km race consists of three mountain summits and over 17,000 ft of elevation change through the scenic mountains and foothills around Grande Cache.

The Alberta Foothills Network will be there on registration day (Friday, August 4th) raising awareness about efforts to protect the foothills forests around Grande Cache - the Little Smoky and the Kakwa Endangered Forests. The race runs during the August long weekend and has a motto: “Are you tough enough?” The Network is asking a similar question – Are the threatened species, such as Woodland Caribou, Grizzly Bear and Bull Trout tough enough to withstand the destruction of their last remaining habitat by forestry and oil and gas development? Without immediate action, their survival is unlikely.

“We will again be speaking to locals and visitors in the Grande Cache area about the urgency of protecting these last road-less areas in Alberta’s Endangered Foothills,” says Rebecca Reeves, who spoke to racers last summer about the efforts of the Alberta Foothills Network. “Most people that we spoke to last year were shocked to hear that this area is not protected. People demonstrated a genuine concern for the wildlife that depend on these areas.” Since then, a forest industry poll done in Alberta has echoed this concern, finding that 85% of respondents valued the preservation of habitat for wildlife over logging in the public forests (Alberta Forest Products Association, 2006). Alberta’s foothills natural region is considered Endangered as only 1.4% is protected from industrial development. The Network of environmental groups, eco-tourism companies and first nations people are calling for the immediate protection of the last three intact areas of the foothills.

The race is organized by the Canadian Institute of Extreme Racing, a non-profit incorporated society of Alberta and is dedicated to promoting the sport of extreme racing and tourism initiatives. “The race is an amazing example of a community coming together to celebrate the beauty of this area in a sustainable and creative way. It also helps to diversify the resource-based economy by enhancing the area’s tourism industry.” adds Ms. Reeves. Parks and protected areas have been found to increase quality of life of communities, and offer recreation, economic, natural and social benefits.

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For more information:

Contact: Rebecca Reeves, Alberta Foothills Network Outreach Coordinator - (780) 913-9375