Press Release: January 20, 2017
(Provided by the Bert Riggall Environmental Foundation)

Bert Riggall photos on display in Waterton Lakes National Park – Summer 2015

The Bert Riggall Environmental Foundation is pleased to announce the support of its Canada 150 project from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwest Alberta Canada 150 Fund

Background:

The story of conservation in southwest Alberta is of national significance. Many innovative approaches are employed here that result in a diverse and highly active environmental stewardship. An evolving conservation legacy, this ongoing commitment to the conservation of the region was inspired by Bert Riggall, his photographic images, the wilderness trails he created and the contributions he made to conservation awareness. Bert Riggall arrived in the Twin Butte, Waterton Lakes area in 1905 and became one of its most respected mountain guides and naturalists. A self-taught photographer, Riggall captured some of the earliest images of this stunning wild region. The photographs became a lure for a fledgling tourism industry; they became the eyes of change for an emerging conservation movement.  Leaving an impressive archival record of more than 14,000 photographs, records, diaries, maps and letters, the Riggall archives are considered to be of “outstanding significance and national importance” by the Cultural Property Export Review Board. His influence flows across generations and continues today. It’s seen in the efforts of individuals and the successes of conservation initiatives such as The Castle, The Waterton Biosphere Reserve, Flathead Wild and The Waterton Front.

New Equestrian Heritage- Tourism Event: The Canada 150 Bert Riggall Heritage Horsemen Experience will be an annual heritage-tourism event. The program will be highly interpretive based on the Bert Riggall story and the conservation efforts of the Waterton Biosphere Reserve and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  Staging area enhancement, signage and mapping will be addressed.  Alpine Stables will deliver the event.

Hiking Event: Working with the Buffalo Runners Society, a walking/hiking version of the event will be developed for cross-cultural youth. A wealth of first nations sites provides both a nature and cultural based experience.

Interpretive Program: An interpretive program will be developed as part of these special events. It will illuminate the natural and human aspects of this inspiring story.

New Book: The interpretive document will be drawn from a manuscript to be published as a not for profit book. Bert  Riggall’s Greater Waterton, A Conservation Legacy.  The publication will be an anthology from writers including award winners Sid Marty and Fred Stenson and contributors including Harvey Locke, Charlie Russell, Chris Morrison, Bruce Morrison, Dave Sheppard and Larry Simpson amongst others. All will share their insights into this inspiring story. Riggall’s original black-and-white photographs, hand drawn maps and early letters will illustrate the manuscript.

Communications: Articles, speaking presentations and a website will be developed to tell this nationally significant conservation story.

Community Benefits: This project will create a new heritage tourism event that will provide new economic benefits and recreational opportunities. Interpretive information will tell the inspiring story of a great Canadian Bert Riggall, and offer a deeper understanding of his contributions and others to the long-term conservation of southwest Alberta. It will highlight the significant long-time connection between tourism and conservation. It will inspire a deeper understanding of the evolution of conservation thinking and help strengthen involvement in a vibrant conservation community. It will inspire an appreciation of and participation in environmental stewardship as a lasting legacy from Canada 150. It will engage Canadians in an active interpretive experience that speaks to Canadian’s love of nature and our passion to protect it.

Canada 150 Project: Bert Riggall Legacy Project Partners: To date, Alpine Stables, Waterton Biosphere Reserve, Nature Conservancy Canada, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Buffalo Runners Society, Bert Riggall Environmental Foundation.

Contact: Project Coordinator: Beth Towe: tgbear@telusplanet.net PH: 403-627-1662