October 1, 2015 1:16 pm
Updated: October 1, 2015 2:39 pm

Doubts raised about plan to protect Alberta wilderness area

Alberta's Castle Wilderness area.

Alberta's Castle Wilderness area.

Credit: Alberta Wilderness
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EDMONTON – Environmental groups are raising doubts about the Alberta government’s plan for a provincial park and wildland area in a corner of southwestern Alberta.

The plan to protect the Castle region won the New Democrats much praise when it was announced last month.

READ MORE: Alberta government moves to protect vast Castle wilderness 

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Since then, some critics have noticed that activities not generally allowed in provincial parks, such as hunting and off-highway vehicle use, would still be permitted.

Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association says the previous Conservative government didn’t allow those activities in provincial parks.

Gord Petersen of the Castle-Crown Wilderness Association says it’s important to ensure the Castle doesn’t become a park in name only.

The Castle area, where the Rocky Mountains meet the prairie, is renowned for its beauty and biodiversity and is home to more than 200 threatened species.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips told Global News there is extensive online consultation going on for the park and what Albertans would like to see the park look like.

Phillips added no final decisions have been made and won’t be made until consultation is complete.

With files from Quinn Campbell, Global News

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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