SW AB wildlife cor­ri­dor hon­ours for­mer Al­berta pre­mier

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Prairies - BY TIM KALI­NOWSKI — South­ern Al­berta News­pa­pers

“Each time I re­turn to the wilder­ness I feel like a child again,” for­mer Al­berta Pre­mier and fed­eral En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Jim Pren­tice once told del­e­gates at the 2009 World Wilder­ness Congress in Medira, Mex­ico. “I feel smaller for hav­ing found my place in the im­men­sity of cre­ation. And yet, I feel larger as well, hav­ing es­caped the crowds and the chaos of mod­ern life.”

Pren­tice was re­mem­bered on Nov. 2 as a true lover of na­ture and some­one who strived tire­lessly through­out his life to pre­serve and pro­tect the wild ar­eas of both his home prov­ince and those of the rest of Canada as well.

Pren­tice’s widow Karen and other rel­a­tives were on hand at the Crowsnest Mu­seum to lend their full sup­port to the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy of Canada’s newly dubbed Jim Pren­tice Wildlife Cor­ri­dor ini­tia­tive in the Crowsnest Pass, the col­lec­tion of small com­mu­ni­ties where Pren­tice as a teenager spent his for­ma­tive years and first learned the value of hard work in the lo­cal coal mine. Pren­tice and three other men were killed in a plane crash in Oc­to­ber 2016, but his fam­ily was grat­i­fied his legacy and name would live on through the NCC’s wildlife cor­ri­dor.

“Jim loved na­ture, and he be­lieved strongly in con­ser­va­tion,” said Mrs. Pren­tice in her re­marks to those as­sem­bled at the mu­seum to hon­our her late hus­band. “I im­me­di­ately knew this is some­thing Jim would want to see hap­pen. When I shared the pos­si­bil­ity of a Jim Pren­tice Wildlife Cor­ri­dor with our daugh­ters and Jim’s sis­ters, they were equally en­thused. Our en­tire fam­ily is be­hind this and is grate­ful to the NCC for steps they are tak­ing to make it hap­pen.”

The cor­ri­dor is not a done deal yet, said the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy’s Al­berta re­gional vice-pres­i­dent Bob Demul­der, but with the Pren­tice fam­ily back­ing the project and the Prov­ince of Al­berta do­nat­ing $1 mil­lion in Pren­tice’s me­mory to­ward the $5 mil­lion needed to pur­chase the last piece of land to com­plete the cor­ri­dor, Demul­der felt it soon could be.

“We ini­tially started buy­ing land here un­der the aus­pices of try­ing to get this cor­ri­dor as­sem­bled 15 years ago or more,” ex­plained Demul­der. “It’s dif­fi­cult to raise the kind of cap­i­tal that you need to buy land. Re­ally, the two things that have kind of come to­gether now with the Pren­tice fam­ily com­ing on­side en­dors­ing this, as well as the gov­ern­ment, there is op­por­tu­ni­ties to pur­chase some of the land which is key to get­ting this done and se­cur­ing the cor­ri­dor.”

The next step, once those last few pieces of land are se­cured, is the con­struc­tion of a wildlife cross­ing bridge over High­way 3, said Demul­der.

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