Riding Mountain Forum – March 20-21

The Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve (RMBR) hosts the 2009 Knowledge and Research Forum at the Elkhorn Resort, Spa and Conference Centre.  The purpose of the forum is:

With the assistance of knowledgeable local individuals, experts, researchers, institutes and agencies,

  • To identify the critical areas of knowledge and research that is needed within the RMBR to ensure healthy and sustainable communities, working landscapes and protected areas.
  • To identify an expanded list of individuals, research institutes and agencies that could be involved in future forums and initiatives
  • To identify a group of interested individuals that would provide on going guidance in the gathering of knowledge and research within the RMBR into the future.    

I look forward to participating in this forum, as an invited member.  Lots to learn.  The Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve, in my view, is one of the best locations in Western Canada for investment, business, research, and sustainable tourism over the next few decades.

Why? Because the emerging local carbon economy requires leadership communities where people, businesses, producers, and tourism operators can work together to demonstrate how our economy and environment can sustain each other.  We are blessed by having Riding Mountain National Park in our backyard.  

However, the economic investments that will help local people to sustain themselves will need to include clean energy production (wind, solar, geothermal), agriculture that demonstrates lower scales of production without intensive chemical management, cattle that are range-managed and grass-fed (not feedlot), environmental research and monitoring that is state-of-the-art (and complements the national park mandate), and the establishment of sustainable tourism businesses (new tourism experiences; opportunities for youth to learn about climate change and environmental science; new travel experiences; new B&B accommodations; year-round tourism).    

The Benefits

If we can sustain these types of activities, we will demonstrate community viability (wealth generated by economic activities that keeps local people here and help to nourish and protect the national park, water systems, and ecological health of the area), and long-term sustainability.  I’ll be Twittering as I learn from the forum.  Stay tuned!

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