South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) – What Can I Do?

South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) – What Can I Do?
November 16, 2014 Webmaster

To preface, the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan is part of the land use framework being developed by the provincial government.  This plan is intended to identify long term strategic directions for the region and address the economic, environmental and social concerns.

I attended the Canmore SSRP Open House (November 7th) and the Calgary SSRP Stakeholder Meeting (November 13th), and have been in conversations with Wayne Campbell (ACC National VP A&E), David Roe (your Section Chair), and Al Black (CASA President).  One common theme I have seen at these meetings (and similarly at the Water for Life forum in March 20th, 2013) is that various stakeholder groups are organized, effective, and have multiple representatives at these meetings.  Stakeholder groups ranging from industry players to conservation organizations to off-highway vehicle groups, have requested private meetings with the GoA and made known their positions with respect to the SSRP.  Motorized outdoor recreation groups are specifically mentioned in the draft document in terms of the significant revenues they bring to the provincial economy.  I feel that the softer-tread backcountry recreationist community should also be heard, particularly if other outdoor recreation groups are lobbying.

With that in mind this is what has happened to date, and this is what you can do:

Private Meeting with CASA and GoA Nov. 28th,2013 in Cochrane

CASA requested a meeting with the Government of Alberta (GoA).  The ACC has representatives from the following sections: Calgary, RMS, Southern Alberta, Central Alberta, Edmonton.

CASA’s paraphrased message to convey to GoA is as follows:

–          The SSRP needs develop a recreational master plan for each of the regions in the SSRP to implement and manage recreational activities in a sustainable way.

–          It is important for the SSRP to not to hand off the implementation of outdoor recreation to Alberta Tourism, Parks, and Recreation, and the parks. A lot of outdoor recreation happens on lands managed by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, and they need the resources to plan, implement, and manage recreational activities. This is especially critical, because the growth in Calgary and inevitable growth and demand for outdoor recreation will most likely be happening on AERSD lands, since parks are operating at near capacity (e.g., camping sites!)

–          Most of the concerns about user group conflicts and the environmental impact of recreation are the result of a lack of planning, especially on AESRD lands. Current planning by AESRD is based on access management using existing disturbances (e.g. old seismic lines, old logging roads). The problem with this strategy is the areas and infrastructure were not originally designed for their current use, the numbers of users, or to minimize or mitigate environmental impact. There are better solutions! The SSRP needs develop a recreational master plan for each of the regions in the SSRP to implement and manage recreational activities in a sustainable way.

–          Stakeholders in the area, be it recreational groups or conservation/environmental groups, need a standing mechanism for being involved in the planning and the on-going implementation of recreational plans of the Government of Alberta at a regional level. The Ghost Stewardship Management Group is good example of this type of consultation, but it needs some funding and legal status — be it a planning board or a consultation board.

2. Complete the SSRP Workbook Deadline has now been extended to Feb. 28th, 2014.

If you have attended any of the public open houses, thank you for your time.  If you have not had the opportunity, you can still voice your opinion by completing the SSRP Workbook.  It is available on-line can be completed in about 30 minutes.  (Join CASA on Facebook to receive updated info.  If you do not use Facebook, keep an eye on the ACC Calgary Section Breeze and here.)

You may provide your feedback through our online workbook, available at
From Al Black, CASA President: “The SSRP suggested comments page(s) are up on the website. This is an instance where the number of people who do respond matter, so pass it along and encourage as many as you can to participate and comment.”

3.  ACC Calgary Section Letter to the Government of Alberta
Letter issued to GoA:

Consultation with the ACC Calgary membership occurred via the Breeze and at the Section 2013 AGM, with any feedback accepted prior to December 13, 2013.  Below is what was conveyed to the membership prior to the release of the final version of the letter:

Ideally, a unified message from all the ACC Sections within the boundaries of the SSRP can be presented, in a written letter.  Below is the intended message that will be conveyed and you are invited to provide feedback on this prior to the deadline.  Note that the final messaging may change based on conversations with other section A&E representatives and CASA, but the intent is to develop a message that reflects the ACC Calgary position.

– The ACC Calgary Section is advocating that Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources develop and implement a Master Recreational Plan for each of the sub-regions, just as it has integrated resource plans for each of the sub-regions. This will ensure planning and management of activities on Crown lands in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way. It should be implemented with public input at a regional level.

– While the SSRP talks about enhancing the quality of life of residents through increased opportunities for recreation, and that desired social and community outcomes include healthy Albertans, measurement indicators (e.g. Parks per Capita, Recreation Infrastructure) will not adequately reflect that these outcomes are achieved.  For example, recreation infrastructure may cater towards motorized user groups, such as RVs and ATVs.   More refined indicators are required that account for the diversity of recreationists.

Further to this, the SSRP mentions an increase in Off-Highway Vehicle recreational activity, and dedicates a paragraph commenting on the tourism revenue generated by snowmobile and ATVers. Recognition of more sustainable, soft-tread user groups should also be inherent in this plan.

> If you are providing feedback, please state your first and last name so I can confirm you are a member in good standing with the ACC Calgary Section.  Emails should be directed . You may also post to the Forum under the ‘South Saskatchewan Regional Plan’ thread if you wish your comments to be publicly visible.

Additional Notes:
A variety of groups have expressed concerns with various aspects of the SSRP, that may not have been addressed by the ACC.  For additional viewpoints, you may wish to visit the websites of Y2Y, CPAWS and the AWA.  Visit the ACC Calgary Forum to view discussion threads.

New CASA Website – Photos Wanted Posted by KL: Jan. 15, 2014
CASA is unveiling their new website, and needs your photos!
“We’re trying to get a general collection — different kinds of climbing — different places. Of course, we’re cheap so we’re not going to pay for them. And we’re not going to even try to enforce copyright or note attribution on the pics. But you will get a big thanks on the CASA donations page!”
Send them to

South Saskatchewan Regional Plan Phase 3 October 21, 2013
The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) will set the vision of the Southern Alberta region that includes the Ghost, Castle, and Kananaskis.  Regional planning is part of Alberta’s Land Use Framework (LUF), and involves monitoring and managing natural resources.  Public consultations in late 2012 were held to assist in developing the draft copy of the SSRP.  Phase 3 public consultations on the draft version of the SSRP are underway.

CASA will be attending as a stakeholder, but you can also make yourself heard by attending one of the open houses held at various locations between November 5 and 28 (4:30 pm – 7:30 pm), and/or by completing and submitting an online workbook by January 15, 2014.

The Calgary open house will be 4:30 – 7:30, November 13 at the Glenmore Inn (2720 Glenmore Trail SE).  If you cannot make it there are other sessions in Cochrane, Airdrie, Canmore, Okotoks, and other towns.

Visit for more information.


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