Mountain leaders share their most pressing challenges at symposium


As part of International Mountain Day 2016 celebrations, on December 15th the Canadian Mountain Network brought together a group of ‘mountain leaders’ for a public discussion of the challenges facing mountain communities. These include, among many others, preserving and using traditional knowledge, economic diversification, climate change, aging populations, transportation, and broadband access. First nations elders, community and municipal leaders, business representatives, and conservationists were among those who shared their diverse perspectives at the University of Alberta’s Horowitz Theatre. (Full list of speakers below).

Symposium attendees, including students, researchers and members of the public, were also provided an opportunity to discuss these challenges and potential solutions in breakout sessions with the panelists. Their findings were summarized by student volunteers and will be incorporated into the Canadian Mountain Network’s research agenda. Suggestions included funding for researchers to conduct consultations with communities, the incorporation of traditional knowledge into research, open data, and the need for a matching system to bring together communities and researchers with shared interests.

Thank you to all of the panelists and attendees for their participation, as well as to the Meg Wilcox, radio journalist and Assistant Professor at the Mount Royal University School of Communication, for moderating the symposium. Thank you also to all of our Mountain Festival faculty and corporate sponsors! (Full list below).

Full Symposium video is available on the Canadian Mountain Network YouTube channel!

We look forward to continued engagement with researchers, students and the public on an innovative research agenda for the Canadian Mountain Network. To share your ideas with us, please visit the Engagement section of our website:

Symposium Speakers:
Leon Andrew -  Mountain Dene Elder, Tulit’a Dene Band (Tulı́t'a, NWT)
Richard Andrew - Mountain Dene Artist, Tulit’a Dene Band (Tulı́t'a, NWT)
Deborah Simmons - Executive Director, Sahtu Renewable Resources Board (Tulı́t'a, NWT)
Sara Brown - CEO, Northwest Territories Association of Communities (Yellowknife, NWT)
Cal Clark - Sustainable Development Manager, Riversdale Resources (Crowsnest Pass, AB)
Craig Dunn - Chief Geologist, Borealis Geopower (Calgary, AB)
Christina Benty - Past Mayor of Golden and Owner, Strategic Leadership Solutions (Golden, BC)
Bill Snow - Consultation Manager, Stoney Nakoda Nation (Morley, AB)
Alison Ronson - Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Northern Alberta Chapter (Edmonton, AB)

The Mountain Symposium was part of the Canadian Mountain Network’s 2016 Mountain Festival, made possible through the generous support of the University of Alberta faculty of Science, the University of Alberta faculty of Arts, NSERC, Campbell Scientific Canada, First Air, and Marmot Basin. Search #IMD2016CMN to find live-tweets and posts from the 2016 Mountain Festival!