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Thanks for the efforts, Friends

We’d like to tip our hats to Friends of Banff for stellar work over the past two decades.

We’d like to tip our hats to Friends of Banff for stellar work over the past two decades.

Without Friends’ effort to promote and educate through its Living with Wildlife program, Park Radio and Oikos school programs, among many others, we think it’s safe to say Banff, both the town and the park, would not be the same today.

In the end, which is now approaching for the group, the spirit of volunteerism which permeates this valley was at the heart of the matter. Friends was founded as a grassroots organization of citizens and a select few staff who loved their town and park and took it upon themselves to make a difference – and they did.

Today, after many of their efforts have been mirrored by other organizations, the group is hanging ‘em up while they’re on top. Friends led the way in showing that there was a market in Banff for quality, Canadian-made, environmentally responsible products, not just cheap offshore knockoffs. The group’s The Bear & The Butterfly store was stocked with items deemed suitable.

Education in regard to the park, and Parks, is now a fundamental mandate of SEPAC (Special Events Public Advisory Committee), which insists on there being a public education component to any proposal the group examines (dragon boats, skins games, etc.).

As well, education has always been the mandate for the Friends-created Park Radio, which features historical and environmental information.

With Friends to disband in 2012, hopefully the group can find others interested in keeping the radio station and school programs running.

The Keystone thing

When it comes to all the protesting, lobbying, pro and con arguments, threats and proposed sanctions relative to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, there are many which are fascinating.

First and foremost is the fact that, even in Alberta where oil is everything, it sometimes appears that little thought seems to be given to the inevitability of actually running out of oil. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, yet we can’t sell it off fast enough.

There are billions to be made in piping oil south to the U.S. via TransCanada Corps’ Keystone pipeline, of course, which will fill the coffers of a select few companies and make provincial budgets look good, based on the price of a barrel of oil.

Money talks, we get that. But the rush to drain a non-renewable resource can seem a little disconcerting; short-sighted, even.

Being that journalists are not among the country’s wealthiest employees, and are not the ones wheeling and dealing with briefcases of cash in selling non-renewable resources, we’d likely opt for saving for a rainy day. In the end, whenever it comes, we feel we’d rather not be the first to do without, having piped it south. After all, this is a northern country, there may be a need to keep furnaces running.

And while there has been much talk of Nebraska not wanting a pipeline running over its valuable aquifer (remember BP’s multi-billion dollar Gulf of Mexico spill?), we wonder if there is any concern over the possibility of an oil spill within our own borders? Or does the vision of billions override environmental concerns?

Finally, we find it odd that Premier Redford has been touring the U.S. touting the benefits of the Keystone project, while at the same time, she’s said she wouldn’t want to see electricity sold into the U.S. Oil, yes, electricity, no? What, don’t electricity producers have a big enough lobby?

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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