Community Perspectives on Natural Environments

Residents consulted for this plan expressed hope that our future generations will conserve our magnificent path of the natural environment and protect the diversity of life around us. They recommended steps such as the following.

Enforce Environmental Standards
As a community, we want to continue using this land as a playground and source of wealth, but we want to find more environmentally friendly ways to do so. Rather than outlawing all terrain vehicle use, for example, some suggested setting and enforcing firm standards for trail use and upkeep. Stewardship needs to be fostered among all users, one person stated, “the community needs to take ownership for the litter and lack of respect for these lands.”
Community Perspectives on Natural Environemnts
“It is difficult to be a pedestrian in Hinton due to incomplete or nonexistent sidewalk networks, especially in commercial areas.” - Community Consultation Participant
“I would love to put a stop to the urban sprawl that is happening in Hinton. I think this is bad for wildlife as it causes more and more habitat loss and I think it is bad for the environment because it forces people to rely on vehicles and it is bad for the people of Hinton because there is less walking and less of a feeling of a town centre.” - Community Consultation Participant
Expand Sustainable Industries
Forestry is seen as a viable part of our future. “Values such as biodiversity, recreation, and water quality can be compatible with forestry,” one person said. “It is actually the only truly sustainable industry we have in Alberta that is resource based. Regeneration here is successful, and 50-year-old stands are only 40 years away from being logged as second growth.” Residents expressed concern about the coal mines being planned in the area.
“I feel that the two new coal mines proposed, one south of town stretching from McPherson Creek Area to, and including the Bighorn Ridge and the other near Pepper's Lake, would be short sighted in that they wouldn't be compatible with environmental and artist's culture goals. They would be too close and have a noise and dust effect on the town. They would cause a brain drain. I know I would change my retirement plans. I'd move instead of staying.” - Community Consultation Participant
Heed Cultural Knowledge
Aboriginal residents lamented that cultural knowledge and traditions for managing the environment are not shared or practiced in our machine-driven culture, despite all we know (and don’t know) about the ultimate impact of human activity on the environment.

Strive for Balance
Recognizing that our community depends heavily on the environment for our livelihood, residents called for a balanced approach to environmental management that takes into account cultural knowledge and traditions.
"...like other forms of capital, natural assets require careful stewardship and investment for their value to grow and pay dividends over the long-term. Just as we would not take other forms of capital for granted, we ignore the value of natural assets at our peril." - “Green Among the Concrete” Canada West Foundation, 2004