This picture of Abraham Lake from Hood Doo Creek was taken by Craig Saunders. AEP announced Friday proposed changes to Bighorn Country, including a $40 million investment over five years to the area, plus three new provincial parks. Photo by Craig Saunders

Red Deerians can weigh in on proposed Bighorn Country investment tonight

Telephone town hall takes place 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Red Deer residents and those in the surrounding area will have the chance to weigh in on the proposed Bighorn Country investment Wednesday night.

Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips is holding a telephone town hall for the region from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. She is calling for comments, suggestions and concerns on the proposed management in the areas.

The $40-million investment into Bighorn Country aims to expand, amend or create four parks, four recreation areas and two public land use zones.

These changes aim to support recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, off-highway vehicle use, horseback riding, ice climbing and cross-country skiing, the government website reads.

The proposal also aims to support industrial activity on public lands east of the Bighorn Backcountry, such as agriculture, coal, forestry, oil and gas.

“For most users, the proposal means little or no change to the activities currently allowed in the area. Trails will not be closed, random camping will still be allowed, industrial development will continue and Indigenous traditional practices will be supported,” the website reads.

Bighorn Country includes public lands from the boundary of Banff National Park eastward towards Drayton Valley. It includes Clearwater County, most of Brazeau County and the current Bighorn Backcountry management area.

To participate in the telephone town hall, dial 1-877-229-8493 and enter code 115500#. Participants can also listen and ask questions online at vekeo.com/youralberta.

The public can also send comments and suggestions via an online survey until Feb. 15th, 2019.

-With files from the Alberta Government

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