CALGARY - Following recent public complaints, security officials have tried to reassure Albertans they will have widespread access to one of the province's most popular recreation areas during the upcoming G8 summit.
More than 95% of Kananaskis Country, site of the G8 summit, will remain open for camping and recreational use, although some public vehicles may be escorted in convoys through security zones by police, officials said yesterday.
About 85% of all vehicle-accessible camping facilities and 50% of backcountry campsites in the mountain area - located 80 kilometres west of Calgary - will remain open during the summit, scheduled for June 26 and 27. Security will be in effect June 23 to 29.
A security perimeter will be established around the Kananaskis hotel village complex where G8 leaders will meet, but its size has not been determined, said RCMP Corporal Jamie Johnston, a G8 security spokesman.
The perimeter in the environmentally sensitive Kananaskis region will not consist of wire fences or other physical barriers, except on roads, he said.
"We clearly wouldn't be doing that. Our intent is to have as minimal an environmental footprint in that area as possible," Cpl. Johnston said.
Hundreds of officers who will police the mountainous site have to take a wilderness course because most have never worked in areas where hungry grizzly bears forage for food and endangered plants thrive in pristine terrain.
To protect the sensitive environment around the site, all officers will be issued special kits to enable them to perform their bodily functions while out in the woods.
The surrounding area, known as Kananaskis Country, covers 4,200 square kilometres of fragile land.
Activists plan to erect Solidarity Village, a tent city about 25 km from the site, as the centre for an anti-globalism festival expected to attract about 20,00 people.
A G8 "counter summit" is also planned for Calgary the week before the event.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. NoNonsense English offers this material non-commercially for research and educational purposes. I believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, i.e. the media service or newspaper which first published the article online and which is indicated at the top of the article unless otherwise specified.