LAND FOOTPRINT AND RECREATION MANAGEMENT PLANS
The Government of Alberta released the draft Livingstone-Porcupine Hills Land Footprint Management Plan (LFMP) and Recreation Management Plan (RMP) on March 28th.
As sub-regional plans of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills LFMP and RMP are significant steps forward for improved management of our treasured southern foothills and mountains. These plans for Alberta’s southern eastern slopes are supported by sound science and developed in a way that respects the input of all users.
The plans help protect critical source waters for southern Alberta, as well as fish and wildlife habitat, while respecting private land rights through improved management of public and industrial access on public lands. The Recreation Management Plan ensures well-planned recreation opportunities for all Albertans, including both non-motorized and motorized recreation camping areas and trail systems. No one has been left out.
The southern Alberta foothills and Rocky Mountains are among the province’s most iconic and well-loved landscapes. They also provide 90% of the water to southern Alberta. Yet these critically important values have been increasingly impacted by forestry, industrial use and unregulated recreation motorized activity. Cumulative impacts from activities have threatened source waters, biodiversity and recreation values in the region.
Ranchers, recreationists, land-owners, scientists and conservationists see the draft Livingstone-Porcupine Hills LFMP and RMP as a significant step forward for public land management along Alberta’s southern East Slopes.
THE oldman river is the source of lethbridge's water
The Livingstone-Porcupine Hills provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including some of the last remaining cold water streams in the Crown of the Continent for the highly threatened westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout. The region also connects grizzly bear populations within the Crown of the Continent, important in sustaining genetic diversity. The Oldman River headwaters lie in this area, and provide most of the water to all downstream communities, including the City of Lethbridge.
First Nations, including the Piikani (Peigan), Nitsitapii (Blackfoot), Tsuut’ina, Siksika, Kainaiwa (Blood), Ĩyãħé Nakoda (Stoney) and K'tunaxa First Nations have travelled, hunted and fished throughout this region. The Oldman headwaters is of great cultural significance for the Blackfoot, as evidenced in traditional stories of how Napi the Creator made the mountains, the rivers and animals that the Blackfoot depend on.
Hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding and camping have long been enjoyed by both visitors to, and residents of, this beautiful landscape. More recently, off-highway vehicles (OHVs) have moved into this area to use access roads originally created for industrial use.
Where is Livingstone-Porcupine Hills?
extensive industrial uses affect ecosystem health
The Livingstone-Porcupine Hills are used extensively for logging, energy, pipeline and powerline development. Following the opening of the land to industry, unmanaged motorized recreation and random camping has grown to be a major threat to ecosystem and source water health.
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Banner photo credit: Connie Simmons