Canada Day long weekend means three days of fun, frivolity and celebration.
Thousands of Albertans will head outdoors this weekend to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Enforcement officers will be out there too: RCMP, fish and wildlife, conservation officers, park rangers and environmental protection officers.
Respecting the environment is an Albertan thing to do. It’s something the vast majority of Albertans take seriously while enjoying our public lands. But there are still serious abuses, and the Alberta Government is stepping up enforcement to protect our beautiful wild spaces.
Enforcement officers have been cracking down on flagrant abuses of public land. The 2017 enforcement season shows how important this work is:
- 827 prosecutions and 567 written warnings under multiple pieces of legislation, in addition to 43 other enforcement actions, including evictions
- 165 enforcement actions under Public Lands legislation (of the 165 incidents, 63 resulted in prosecution and 100 written warnings were issued)
- 74 incidents of failure to comply with signs, notices or requests of a peace officer
- 19 incidents of wheels in water
These cases are more than just numbers. They represent real and potential environmental damage. So far this year, enforcement officers have pulled pick-up trucks from lakes; been forced to airlift a disabled off-highway vehicle from a marked closed trail.
For the safety of wetlands and lakes, rivers and creeks and waterways, it’s crucial to keep trucks, jeeps and off-highway vehicles clear. Riding in these areas can affect water quality, destroy vulnerable fish and wildlife habitat, and irrevocably change our landscape.
This long weekend, Alberta enforcement officers will be out to work with Albertans. They’ll be out there to protect Alberta’s public lands and natural surroundings from abuse. Violators could be compelled to remediate damaged areas. They could face Public Lands Act charges of up to $25,000.
If you see a serious abuse of public land, call the Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.
Happy Canada Day, play safe and please treat your public lands respectfully!