By Mabell, Dave on September 12, 2019.
International visitors will join southern Albertans this weekend to learn how Waterton Lakes National Park is recovering from a devastating fire.
They’ll also hear about new archeological sites discovered following the massive Kenow blaze in 2017. The presentations will be part of the annual assembly of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park Association, created by Rotary Club members nearly 90 years ago.
Overseas students sponsored by individual Rotary clubs will take part in the event alongside Rotary members from Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the U.S.
Event spokesperson Fran Leggett, a member of the Rotary Club of Lethbridge East, says the association’s annual gatherings alternate between the U.S. and Alberta. But the 2017 meeting set for Waterton was cancelled due to the fire.
Salman Rasheed, the park’s superintendent, is scheduled as one of the key speakers on Saturday, outlining the fire’s impacts and Waterton’s recovery plans. Presentations later in the day will report on ecological renewal in its aftermath, and managing previously-unknown archeological resources that became visible.
And Jeff Mow, superintendent of neighbouring Glacier National Park in Montana, will outline recent developments there.
Rotary members will also hear about the possibility of expanding Waterton park. And a Rotary group from the Kootenays will describe proposals for an international peace park along the border of Pakistan and India.
“Peace is very important to the organization,” Leggett points out.
A featured speaker, Lorelei Higgins from Portland, will share “The Power of Peace: Increasing Connectors.”
The Rotarians’ vision of creating an international peace park, following the end of the First World War, led to the dedication of the Waterton-Glacier Peace Park in 1932 – the first of its kind in the world.
Each year, Leggett says, the three-day event ends with a “hands across the border” event reaffirming the hope that the U.S. and Canada will remain peaceable neighbours.
Other events over the weekend include a golf tournament, a shoreline cleanup at Driftwood Beach and an ecumenical Sunday celebration.
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