Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor will connect landscape across the Crowsnest Pass
Campaign to link internationally significant natural areas
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), along with the Government of Alberta and the Prentice family today announced a campaign to protect a critical wildlife corridor in southwest Alberta. The corridor is to be named in honour of the late Alberta Premier, Jim Prentice.
The Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor is located in the Crowsnest Pass, between Crowsnest Lake and the community of Coleman. The corridor is roughly five kilometres wide, from east to west. It will connect Crown forest reserve lands in the north to the Castle parks network (consisting of Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park), as well as to Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park to the south.
This is a project of international significance, as conserving a wildlife corridor through the Crowsnest Pass will benefit wildlife travelling through the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the United States. This natural link between protected spaces has been a priority for conservation organizations for decades.
The Crowsnest Pass naturally funnels wildlife movement north and south through the Rocky Mountains and across Highway 3. NCC has been active in the western portion of the Crowsnest Pass for over a decade, investing more than $10 million to acquire and conserve lands on either side of the highway.
NCC now has an opportunity to complete the corridor and is raising an additional $5 million, through public donations and support, to secure and conserve the remaining private lands in the corridor. The Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor will contribute to the connectivity of parks and other protected areas while supporting iconic species, such as grizzly bear, cougar and elk.
The completion of this project will also set the stage for future wildlife crossing options, such as overpasses and fencing that will guide animals away from traffic and allow them to safely cross Highway 3.
Today, NCC is also celebrating the securement of a 137 acre (55 hectare) property and the Government of Alberta’s commitment to ensure that seven sections of Crown Lands in the corridor will remain undeveloped, which will contribute to the larger conservation landscape. The Government of Alberta is also pleased to provide $1 million to NCC to help leverage further fundraising for the campaign.
The project is a fitting tribute. The Crowsnest Pass was a special place for Mr. Prentice and his family. It was here that his love and respect for nature was shaped. He was an active supporter of conservation, including NCC’s work, both during his time as Premier of Alberta and as Minister of the Environment with the Government of Canada.
In recognition of Mr. Prentice’s legacy, NCC and the Prentice family are announcing their intention to conserve the Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor, and they invite the public to help support this internationally significant project.
Donations can be made by visiting JimPrenticeWildlifeCorridor.ca.
We, the Prentice family, are pleased that the Nature Conservancy of Canada is honouring Jim in this special way. It is a fitting tribute to his connection to the Crowsnest Pass and passion for nature. The creation of the corridor in Jim’s name will be a meaningful legacy for Canada that I hope his friends and colleagues will help support this project.
Karen Prentice, wife of the late Jim Prentice
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is extremely proud to be able to announce this initiative. This wildlife corridor is the accumulation of many years of work in the Crowsnest Pass and is a major conservation achievement. Eventually, we hope to reduce collisions between animals and vehicles by having a wildlife crossing structure installed on the corridor lands, therefore making this corridor a safer place for people and for animals. NCC will continue to work with the Government of Alberta and partner organizations to make this vision a reality. To be able to name it after Jim Prentice is a fitting tribute for a great man; we believe that Mr. Prentice would have been proud to have this wildlife corridor named after him.
Bob Demulder, Regional Vice-President of the Nature Conservancy of Canada
Mr. Prentice loved his province. In the true spirit and commitment of public service, he worked tirelessly to protect it for the people of this province. All Albertans will benefit from this beautiful natural space, forever protected in his name. I would like to thank the Prentice family, the NCC, and the generous Alberta landowners who are supporting this conservation campaign by contributing their land. This campaign is one all Albertans can be proud of.
Rachel Notley, Premier
• Over the years, there has been a steady increase in vehicle-wildlife collisions along Highway 3, resulting in significant human and animal suffering and costs. An analysis of collision sites along Highway 3 indicate that the financial costs of one wildlife-vehicle collision can reach up to $30,000 in damages, insurance and health care expenses. Research conducted on wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park show the average cost of building and maintaining some wildlife-crossing structures can cost as little as $20,000 per year, although certain options are far more expensive.
• Development in the pass have created challenges for wildlife movement. This has affected animal populations by limiting genetic diversity, increasing mortality rates and impacting the ability to migrate. The Jim Prentice Wildlife Corridor initiative will ensure that open, undeveloped areas will remain to facilitate wildlife movement.
• Almost all of the wildlife species that live in the foothills and mountain regions of Alberta will use this corridor. This includes ungulates (elk, deer, moose and bighorn sheep) and carnivores, (bear, wolverine and cougar).
High-quality photos and video of the property are available here. (Photo and video credit Brent Calver)
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