Photographer's Note

I am posting this picture for informational rather than artistic purposes. It took it from the window of an airplane as we approached Grande Prairie, Alberta.

Apart from the small amount of land contained in our parks system, this is what is happening to virtually the entire forest in our country. Diverse old-growth forest is being replaced by tree farms on a very large scale. Pine beetle is being used as an excuse to substantially increase the area covered by clearcuts and subsequently tree farms. Once the natural forest is removed and replaced by a farm it will lose it's recreational, spiritual, and ecological importance. We must act very quickly to protect the remaining untouched regions of pristine wilderness. I think this is especially important in Alberta considering the rapid speed of development and considering that the only large parks are in the Rocky Mountains in the south and Wood Buffalo National Park in the very northeast corner. Apart from that there are virtually no protected areas.

Sorry to pick on Alberta with my first picture of the province, it's just that that was my most recent flight. This destruction is widespread across the country. Have a look on Google Earth around the place you live.

For a long time the logging companies have avoided populated valleys and those containing highways to keep their mess out of sight and therefore out of mind. One day, working as a treeplanter near the highway, they had us fertilize the trees, something usually unheard of. The forester's reason, "to make the trees look nice for the tourists."

I'm going to close with an interesting fact:

The Ministry of Forests has more kilometers of road under it's control than the Ministry of Transportation.

That means there are more km's of logging roads than highway and city roads combined!

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