SACPA in Partnership with the Lethbridge Public Library

Logging the Oldman Headwaters – What’s all the Fuss About?

Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Location: Lethbridge Public Library, 810 – 5th Ave. South
Free admission, everyone welcome.

Beginning in the late 1800s government recognized the importance of preserving the forests of the southern Eastern Slopes to protect the headwaters of prairie watersheds. In addition to creating Waterton Lakes National Park (that initially included the Castle drainage) the federal government took measures to manage timber harvest and control wildfires. After assuming jurisdiction over natural resources in 1931 and following large wildfires that swept through the Eastern Slopes, the Province established the Alberta Forest Service in 1948 to control timber harvest and forest fires. The Eastern Slopes Policy in the late 1970s and the Forest Conservation Strategy in the 1990s were developed in response to public concerns about adverse impacts of land uses, including logging and off-road vehicle use, on watersheds and fish and wildlife.

There are signs that current forest management in the southern Eastern Slopes is not meeting a growing society’s needs and values. The Alberta Forest Service’s 2010 C5 Forest Management Plan is widely criticized for being a “logging” plan that does not recognize ecological and social values of headwater forests. The Oldman Watershed Council has recently identified headwaters protection as a priority for its work. Recent proposals for logging in the southern Eastern Slopes, including the Castle watershed, have been met with widespread and vocal opposition, including legal action. What is all the fuss about?

Three presenters will shed light on various aspects of this issue including wildfire in headwater forests, the ecological legacy of clear-cut logging, increasing human use in the Oldman headwaters and a renewed commitment to headwaters protection that would include establishment of a park in the Castle.


Marie-Pierre Rogeau, M.Sc., Wildland Disturbance Consulting, Banff. Ms. Rogeau has two decades of experience in documenting fire history, fire ecology, fire management and wildfire threat assessment in Alberta and British Columbia.

Lorne Fitch, B. Sc., professional biologist, Lethbridge. Mr. Fitch has four decades of experience as a fish and wildlife biologist with a focus on managing fisheries and aquatic ecosystems in southern Alberta.

Sarah Elmeligi, MNRES, senior conservation planner, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Canmore. Ms. Elmeligi has experience in conservation planning for large landscapes. She has investigated the impacts of tourism on grizzly bears. She has participated in planning for the Oldman watershed.

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