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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta Thursday, November 21, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Development threatens wilderness areas Text and photos by Andy Russell, author and naturalist WATERTON LAKES PARK The Kishaneena wilderness area, the last remaining piece of real wilderness in southeast British Columbia, and Waterton Lakes Park, are still being threatened by the developers and road builders. The former is a truly wild and spectacular expanse of moun- tains, lakes and streams con- taining the only glacier in this region and other unique features, some fragile and easy to destroy. The threat is chronic and being, sponsored by people with no real knowledge of the areas and no sense of the far reaching values involved. It is the same brand of bulldozer mentality that covers rich agricultural land with blacktop and buildings when there is an alternative choice of location. These are the sponsors of the insidious kind of destruction that trades resources for im- mediate profit with no thought of the future and completely ignoring their responsibilities to following generations. The threat to the Kishaneena wilderness and Waterton Lakes Park comes from various Chambers of Commerce in Southern Alberta and British Columbia, mining and timber interests, and American and Canadian tourist promoters from both sides of the boundary. Almost 20 years ago these various Chambers of Commerce working with other interests began promoting a road that would link Waterton Park with West Glacier. Their zeal was remarkable and their motives no less blind then. At that time I was an executive of the Waterton Chamber with a trail riding and outfitting business there. I personally guided a party of various Chamber representatives and park officials from Waterton west to the Flathead River via the proposed route for the highway. In Glacier Park near the Flathead River we camped and met with Chamber of Commerce people from northern Montana, the King Edward Glacier on the north face of Sawtooth Peak state governor's represen- tative and some top officials from Glacier Park. The dis- cussion was conducted around a campfire in wilderness sur- roundings and some revealing discoveries made. The Americans favored the building of the road in strength although some of the Canadians were of mixed feelings about it. The Americans wanted it because it would relieve pressure of traffic from the bottleneck of the Logan Pass highway in Glacier Park. As an alter- native, one of the Canadians present offered the suggestion of an all park route, a highway built from the river up along the Kintla Lakes heading east up over Boulder Pass and down to the head of Waterton Lakes and thence along the lake shore to Waterton Village a far more spectacular location. But Mr. Hummel, superinten- dant of Glacier Park, quickly turned thumbs down on this idea. He said, "That area is highly desirable wilderness within Glacier Park. We can- not consider such a route for we wish to preserve the region as wilderness." It was quickly pointed out that it was too bad he did not apparently apply this wilderness value to Canada, a regrettable condition of think- ing that some of the Canadians present did not appreciate or support. Today American and Cana- dian interests are still pressuring for the Kishaneena highway for equally selfish reasons and no thought of the consequences. Tourist promoters in Waterton, Lethbridge, Fernie and other Canadian towns are lobbying for it, completely blind to the dangers. For apart from the opening of yet another moun- tain region to swarms of traf- fic and tourists with all the relative destruction to wildlife habitat, so obviously il- lustrated by similar developments elsewhere, such a highway would be deadly to Waterton Lakes Park. Waterton, a relatively small mountain park of only 204 square miles, is now overcrowded in summer and accommodates more visitors per square mile of its surface than any other national park in Canada except Prince Edward Island. As anyone can see, who has recently visited the easily accessable high lakes, the sheer weight of peo- ple has already caused severe and irrepairable damage to the natural ecology there. Further, on many occasions over the past several summers visitors have been turned away at the park entrance because no camping room was left. The people in this immediate region of Alberta and B.C. find this sort of thing annoying and disap- pointing because they have been conditioned over the years to enjoying the park any time they please. The Chambers of Commerce have been vociferous in their com- plaining for different reasons. But all and sundry had best get accustomed to the idea of being crowded out if the Kishaneena highway is built, for it will turn loose a damm- ed up flood of tourists from West Glacier over a route that will take only a matter of an hour to drive. Waterton Park will become an American pleasure place, an extension to Glacier in every sense of the word, with a great deal less room for Canadians. The situation will not offer any solution to the problems of overcrowding either in Waterton or Glacier, but will aggravate it. Such a develop- ment will ultimately spell the death of Waterton as a unique- ly scenic and wonderfully alive park sanctuary. The Kishaneena highway proposal is every bit as dangerous to Waterton as the Lake Louise Project has been to Banff a proposal so thoroughly rebuff- ed by the people of this country at the public hearings held in Calgary three years ago. It is something every thinking Canadian should be acutely interested in stopping, for it is something that once launched can never be reversed. Fortunately, the British Columbia government seems Get in on the gold rush Our Golden Touch. Every week more people who appreciate fine Canadian whisky are discovering it, and staying with it. Reason? A full, mellow taste. The unmistakable smoothness of a perfectly blended whisky. Join the gold what's fast becoming one of Alberta's favourite ryes. GoldenTouch. By Corby. to be aware of the danger, for it has set aside the Kishaneena area as a park reserve, at least temporarily Hopefully, it will follow through and make this spec- tacular and unique region into a provincial wilderness park, thus preserving it as such for all time. Such a move will go well with the new and dramatic fish and wildlife and environmental management concepts getting started in that province. But in the meantime it is necessary to permanently guard Waterton Lakes National Park: a park jointly owned by every Canadian and in no way justifiably en- dangered by the ambitions and selfishness of a few greedy developers. Obviously those who are promoting the highway intend to play both ends against the middle by applying pressure in the national parks branch to build the mile of road hooking up the project from the top of Akamina Pass to the park road now going to Cameron Lake. Already the Chamber of Commerce advertises its poor taste and thoughtlessness by a road sign erected at the top of the pass proclaiming the mileage to the Flathead River over a trail so bad it is dangerous. A public hearing could be employed to block the project, but a simpler and likely far more effective move would be for every interested person to sit down and write a letter addressed to Mr. Judd Buchanan. Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, House of Com- mons, Ottawa. BOOKS IN BRIEF "The Day of the Glorious Revolution" by Stanley Burke and Roy Peterson (James Loriraer Company, S4.95, 43 Canada's communicators, who appear in this little book as denizens of a swamp, may be amused by the heavy satire, most people are apt to be either bewildered or bored. Roy Peterson's drawings are good. DOUG WALKER "What is Science For" by Bernard Dixon (Collins. S9.95, 232 An intelligent discussion of the many questions facing scientists today. Bernard Dixon, in answer- ing the question asked in the title of the book, describes science as the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and a method of conquering practical problems. The two objectives of the scientific world can often be worked out in harmony but today they are also found to be at opposite ends Science for years has been looked upon as the savior that will free man from pain and poverty. However, today it not held in such high esteem because the price of progress. to many, is too high. The author's intellectual discussion of the controversial and critical questions facing science today is not only in- spiring to read but a valuable contribution to the debate about what direction the world should take. JIM GRANT The formation of rock left in the middle of North Kintla Valley by glacier action. Dilemmas of modern man 6 The flaw in the educational system By Doug Walker, Herald editorial page editor Corby. Good taste in Canada since 1859. Education in Canada is a flourishing business It costs about S6 billion a year, which is eight per cent of the Gross National Product One in three in the population is either giving or receiving education. Yet despite the flourishing outward appearance of this industry there is widespread doubt that it is accomplishing its objectives, according to Dr Eric Ashby, master of Clare College. Cambridge, speaking at the Winnipeg Centen- nial Symposium on Dilemmas of Modern Man. Of course, education has some successes to its credit which even its doubters and detrac- tors are prepared to acknowledge. Dr. Ashby identified three things it does admirably: (1) it initiates children into the elementary properties of matter and, later, into the sym- bols of communication; (2) it provides vocational training: and (3) it gives entry into the professions. There is always room for im- provement in the way these three things are accomplished but in general it is agreed that "these sorts of education achieve what they set out to do." On the other hand, there are some things that formal schooling does not do very well, encouraging personal fulfilment; initiating into the contemporary culture: and enabling social mobility. "In some said Dr. Ashby. "formal education can suppress per- sonal fulfilment, it can alienate from society, it can inhibit social mobility." Herein lies the dilemma of education. The failure of the educational system to en- courage self fulfilment is one of the chief reasons for the great outpouring of negativity toward its institutions in recent times. Guidance from teachers in the discovery of identity has been widely rejected because it has been discerned that far from promoting self-fulfilment, teachers may only be trying to stamp upon their pupils their own image of self-fulfilment ought to be. As Dr. Michael Oliver, president of Carleton Univer- sity, observed at the same session of the sym- posium, "university professors have proved to be even- good at reproducing themselves." Today, however, a lot of young people have not wanted to be like their teachers, preferr- ing to seek their own identity. All societies hold the view, in one way or another, that children should be educated to fit into the social order. In the past, both the content of the way of life and the authority for enforcing it were recognized and accepted But. as Dr Ashby said, "the cement which has held Western societies together is soften- ing before our eyes." Everything is being questioned and much that was cherished in the past is being rejected. Educating a child to fit into the pattern of society has become impossible since society has no stable pattern. Despite the fact that a university degree facilitates social mobility it is-looked on with some skepticism because it is still mainly the advantaged sections of society which get into universities. In addition, the degree mystique tends to stand in the way of the advancement of the meritorious capability takes a back seat to the diploma. Dr. "horrible ex- ample" is the familiar one of the teaching profession rewarding the person with highest academic standing instead of the one with the greatest capacity for teaching. This indictment against education comes to a head in the failure to be able to teach people how to get along with others, the greatest single need among the citizens of a democracy. That this situation exists may be more the fault of the home than of the educational system, according to Dr. Ashby. The schools only have the child for about 20 per cent of the week whereas parents are responsible for the influences on the child during the remaining 80 per cent of the time What is really important about parental im- pact is not the amount of time the child spends at home relative to the time spent at school but the overwhelming evidence that the crucial formative time of life is the pre- school period, which is largely in the hands of parents. The educational system could make perhaps its most significant contribution by setting up an intensive program of parent education to help parents use those early years better. Another thing that could be done would be to pump more public money into primary education. At the end of his presentation Dr Ashby made a statement that raised a lot of hackles. He said the way out of the dilemma begins at home with mother. In the press copy of his address the word "family" appeared in place of "mother." Many people in this day of emphasis on the equality of the sexes would have preferred to hear the word "family" because that would have recognized the responsibility that falls on father as well as mother. But apparently Dr. Ashby made the change deliberately because in the question period he said the supreme privilege of women was their ability to bear and nurture children. The impression all this leaves is that the educational system, despite its many fine features, is failing to reach far enough down By neglecting the formative years in human beings it misses the most promising prospect for setting foundations for all the rest that is attempted. A view of Goat Ridge ;