Harvie family spokesperson Cam Crawford is encouraging participation in the current consultation on Bow River flood mitigation options under consideration.

Today, June 22, is the first of three days of live virtual sessions, and an information centre will remain online until the end of the month.

Crawford says the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Board, of which he is a member, has not been updated on any activities relative to the Glenbow East reservoir option that would flood portions of the park.

The park board is formed of three representatives of the provincial government and three representatives of the Harvie family.

Last week, an Alberta Transportation official said 2,200 acres of land across the Bow River from the park was purchased for gravel and material by the government.

Some believe the land has actually been purchased to develop the Glenbow East reservoir.

 "To date, the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park Board has not been informed of any activities relative to Glenbow East, the likes of which we have seen come to light here in the past week," says Crawford. "So, it's a bit confusing currently, and we're certainly looking for some clarity of the government's position."

To date, he says both the park board and the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation, which was created by the Harvie family, have been wonderful vehicles to accomplish the Harvie family's goal of stewardship.

"The fact that the Glenbow East dam would very effectively destroy riparian habitat and destroy native grasslands would be absolutely contrary to the vision of the Harvies when the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park was established."

He says the Bow River is the spinal cord of the park as it exists today.

"How do you inspire people to a higher level of environmental stewardship when the leaders of the province have decided the best thing they can do with this critical, very unique, and special asset is to cover it with water?"

He says shining the spotlight on the park as the result of this issue has been positive for the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, and its stakeholders.

He also gives credit to the province for promising a wholesome, complete, and transparent consultation, and implores everyone to become engaged in the process.

"This park belongs to the public, it doesn't belong to the government. The Harvies decided to transfer it to the public, and I think it's up to the public to weigh in now and make sure their thoughts and feelings are known about what's going on."

Cam Crawford has been an adviser to the family of Neil (deceased) and Robin Harvie for over 40 years.  He was intimately involved in implementing the Harvies’ vision that the spectacular land base that now makes up Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park be preserved and protected for the enjoyment and inspiration of all, including many generations to come.

In 1934, Eric Harvie purchased the Glenbow Sheep and Horse Ranch from Chester Rhodes de la Vergne. It remained a private ranch until 2006, when the Harvie family and the Government of Alberta created what became the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. 

It was originally part of the historic Cochrane Ranche.

In announcing the park's opening on August 11, 2011, Premier Ed Stelmach proclaimed, “Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park showcases an important part of Alberta’s natural heritage and cultural history. Glenbow Ranch will become a signature site in our provincial parks system that will be enjoyed by Albertans for generations to come.”

In the preface of the Fred Stenson book, "Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park: Grass, Hills, and History," Tim Harvie wrote about the Harvie family's vision of turning the ranch into a protected park. He said the last three generations of the Harvie family played a role in making the park a reality.

He reflected upon what it was like to look across the valley from his ranch home to the provincial park.

"What I do in such moments is remind myself that we are only on this earth for a short time and that, because of the creation of the park, it will look the same, natural and beautiful, long after I am gone."

To register to participate in one of the live virtual sessions, go here.