Last edited Dec. 2, 2016.
Notes: This piece, whether it dies in obscurity or not, will remain subject to change until further notice. As new information comes to light, I feel responsible for adjusting my views and opinions on the treatment of our natural resources and public spaces.
I am blown away by the overwhelmingly positive reception of The Saskatchewan Border Outdoor Adventure Map, a resource for locating public angling locations and recreation sites. It is a labour of love for the outdoors and I am grateful to share the places that make the Canadian Prairies an amazing place to live.
Whether or not to release the map was not an overnight decision. Although I'm thankful for the support I've received, I know there are many who will see this map as troublesome—the end of peace and quiet at their favourite fishing lake or camping spot. As someone who started fishing and camping in the wilderness to get away from busy parks, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense for me to share the tool I've used to help plan my own trips.
Our angling lakes and rivers, provincial forests and recreation areas are everyone's responsibility. I am not entitled to these resources any more than the next person. The map was not created with privileged information, it was an aggregate of resources already available to the public.
From eastern Alberta to western Manitoba, the region is filled with opportunities to experience nature many people overlook. We are quick to defend ourselves when someone says "the prairies are flat and boring." We like to share photos of our land's unique scenery, but we drop the ball entirely when it comes to showing others how to participate.
Many of our fisheries are susceptible to overfishing and rely on the dedicated work of public and non-profit organizations: Fort Qu'Appelle Fish Culture Station, the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. Likewise in Manitoba, the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery, Manitoba Wildlife Federation, Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement Inc., FLIPPR, and several volunteer/community organizations have made contributions to protect fish stocks. Memberships, donations and angling license purchases help a number of these organizations manage sustainable fish populations, new fisheries enhancement projects and other resources for anglers.
I believe that if our natural resources are to stay protected, they need to be valued by the public. My only hope is that the information provided by the map will help open the dialogue between outdoor recreation and environmental sustainability.
Most people will continue to visit the same places they always go, no matter how many options there are. The map is designed for those who are willing to put the work in and deal with the uncertainty of venturing into an unfamiliar location. It is a rare trait, and I believe that hard work and a little risk-taking should be rewarded.
Whether you loved or hated the map, thank you for taking the time to read this. But I didn't create this site because I wanted to spend more time on the internet writing flowery essays. I'm going to go out and do what I do best, which is basically sleeping in the mud and spending all day catching jack-shit.
To all the dedicated anglers and adventurers out there, keep those lines tight and don't let the horse flies bite.