This is a request to the many people who expressed concern and interest in the future of the PFRA Community Pastures.
We are at a point where a large scale letter writing campaign is needed as we continue to work towards the continued public ownership and conservation of our pastures. Your letters need not be long. We are hoping to generate over 1000 letters in the next few weeks.
We need to get the message out that the public feels that:
- It is vitally important to keep the pastures public
- The public should pay for public values
- The government must take on this responsibility
- The public wants to know how the government will ensure that the pastures will continue to be managed for the many important public benefits.
Be sure to address your letters to Premier Wall. Be polite and make sure you ask for a reply. Below are some points you may wish to talk about. There are also some sample letters here. Make your letters personal, explaining why retaining the pastures are important to you.
To write your letter begin by making some (but not all) of the “Important Points” listed below, and then ask one or two specific questions:
- “How will your government ensure that the pastures will continue to be managed for [choose your public benefit/issue from the points below]”
- “We all recognize that retaining land under public ownership is the highest form of protection for the long term. Please explain your government’s willingness to sell Crown lands that are among the most ecologically important and endangered landscapes in Canada.”
The following are several points about the PFRA pastures, some of which you may wish to refer to in your letter:
- These grasslands are not merely agricultural land; they are important for grazing but also represent some of the last large protected areas of grassland on the continent. They must be managed with both grazing and biodiversity in mind.
- Southern Saskatchewan contains one of the most modified landscapes in North America.
- Some 80% of our natural landscape in southern Saskatchewan has been lost to development.
- Only 15% of the natural landscape south of the forest fringe is public land, where public oversight can be provided.
- It is critically important to preserve these vanishing native grasslands.
- The PFRA Pastures are the most critically important remaining grasslands in Saskatchewan.
- The PFRA pastures are a major part of this province’s Representatives Areas Network, a network of ecologically important land and water areas across the province.
- Canada has commitments to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to preserve a portion of our landscape in its natural condition and the pastures are a major component of this in Saskatchewan.
- The Prairies have a greater number of Species at Risk than any other region of Canada.
- Over 30 Species at Risk are found on the PFRA pastures.
- Carbon sequestration is an important benefit from native grasslands.
- Soil and water conservation is provided by PFRA Pastures.
- The pasture lands have many known heritage sites from Indigenous people and homesteaders. Many of the pastures have not yet been assessed for their archaeological potential or sites of a special nature such as sacred sites.
- Keeping the lands public is the best way to protect these known and unknown sites.
- The publicly-owned lands are important to enable Indigenous people to continue practices such as hunting and gathering, and practising respect for sacred sites.
- These pastures are very important to producers for grazing opportunities. The first ten pastures to be transitioned have already lost 50% of their patrons.
- PFRA Pastures are important for the local economy.
- Pasture patrons are necessarily concerned first with their private interests as cattle producers. Unless they receive some support, it is not realistic to expect they will also care for the range of public goods that the PFRA pastures always provided to society as a whole.
- Full time, qualified pasture managers are critical to the long term management of the pastures.
- The pastures provide important access for hunting opportunities, generating $70 million dollars annually.
- The total annual cost of operating the 62 PFRA Pastures is $22 million. The total annual benefits to producers and society is $55 million.
- Keeping the pastures publicly-owned is the best way to protect the many benefits they provide.
- Some kind of legislative protection is needed for pastures.
- The many public benefits from public lands must be recognized and maintained with public dollars.
- Producers should not be expected to pay for public benefits.
Whatever points you raise in your letter, be sure to ask the Premier for a response to your question.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE A LETTER.
YOUR SUPPORT IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!
GETTING THE LETTER TO THE PREMIER
You can mail, e-mail or fax the letter to the Premier.
A letter sent in the mail carries more weight.