Nothing to Bragg About

My last post was about an amazing run that I had in the West Bragg Creek day use area. Unfortunately my awesome run was dampened by some pretty sad stuff.

About a year ago there was a petition circling because the Spray Lake Sawmills announced that they were planning on clear cutting over 700 hectares of land in Kananaskis country, including much of West Bragg. CLEAR CUTTING. Unfortunately the petition wasn’t successful in stopping the logging and as a result it has already begun. (Visit Sustain Kananaskis to learn more).

It’s not really a secret that I care deeply about the environment, the wilderness and preserving our undeveloped wilderness for future generations, and this just made me sad. While I was there I was running through areas that had already been clear cut, across logging roads blazed right through the bush and over the piles of rubble that the loggers have created. It really got me thinking about the importance of preserving wilderness.

Remember this beauty of a photo?

Beauty of a panorama. It's views like this that remind me how much I love the mountains.

Beauty of a panorama. It’s views like this that remind me how much I love the mountains.

Well sadly directly behind me it looked like this:

Sadly THIS was right behind me when I took the panorama. How do we let such a beautiful area succumb to industry?

Sadly THIS was right behind me when I took the panorama. How do we let such a beautiful area succumb to industry?

You can’t see it all that well (I was just using my iPhone), but there are just a few trees and then a huge area that has already been clear cut.

As I continued along I found even more sad areas.

On the trail right before getting to this type of thing there is a big stop sign saying that the giant machine that eats trees is working here. Luckily it's not out on Sundays but I couldn't help but think that the squirrels, birds and chipmunks can't read the stop sign!

On the trail right before getting to this type of thing there is a big stop sign saying that the giant machine that eats trees is working here. Luckily it’s not out on Sundays but I couldn’t help but think that the squirrels, birds and chipmunks can’t read the stop sign!

A logging road blazing right through a beautiful poplar grove.

A logging road blazing right through a beautiful poplar grove.

All of the wood stacked up

A bunch of trees stacked up.

But it was only when I got back to the parking lot to find that there were over 100 cars in the parking lot that it hit home one of the many reasons WHY it is important to preserve areas like this.

Let’s do a little math: Since I got there at 9 am and the parking lot was full by 11 am, let’s assume that it was pretty much full between 10 am and 4 pm when it begins to get dark. If we say that there was likely an average of 3 people per car, and the cars were probably there for about an hour and a half, there were likely over 1,200 people that used the West Bragg day use area in ONE day alone. And I would even hazard that that number is conservative.

There were skiers, snowshoes, hikers, dog walkers, mountain bikers and even a horse. Families, friends, kids, dogs, you name it. There is no question that that area was well used on Sunday, February 3rd and likely every other weekend day for about 90% of the weekends of the year. And this is just one of hundreds of areas that people can get out adventuring in Kananaskis Country, let alone the Canmore area, Banff, Lake Louise, Yoho and every other national and provincial park across the country.

But somehow projects like clear cutting West Bragg are happening all the time. The reason that I alluded to a few paragraphs earlier (which I will admit is just one of the many many reasons that these areas are important) is that today, this very moment in Canada, we have an incredibly serious obesity issue on our hands. Over 60% of Canadian adults are considered overweight or obese putting them at higher risk for chronic disease and making them a huge extra cost on our already overburdened health care system. And for the first time in history, the current generation of children WILL NOT OUTLIVE THEIR PARENTS. Even with all of our advancements in healthcare, the serious damage and risk that kids experience through obesity at a young age has the life expectancy of the current generation lower than the one before.

Think of the thousands of people out enjoying the mountains on the weekends. This is one way that we can fight this disease. This is one way that we can help protect our children from their terrible fate. By families getting out and being active together while enjoying the fresh air, children are learning positive habits about being physically active, they are decreasing their screen time and fostering a healthy appreciation of nature.

Making sure that these areas continue to be available across Canada is incredibly important and can play a big role in decreasing obesity across all generations.

If that isn’t worth saving the West Bragg Creak day use area and every other area that is currently at risk, then I’m not sure what is.

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