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Stacks of bundled lumber

How much did that two-by-four cost? Logging’s unseen toll

Everything has a price — how much you need to pay for it. There are also a series of benefits, especially to those who provide that product, and for provincially owned resources, the rents, royalties and payments made to the public coffer.

In that realm are also the employment benefits and the taxes paid by workers and corporate bodies. You will have to shell out somewhere between $4 to $5 for an eight-foot two-by-four. That’s the usual retail price sticker. But what’s the cost?

Economists, politicians and lobbyists are constantly adding up all the economic benefits of the business side of the equation. If answers on the plus side seem inflated that’s because rarely are the full costs of an endeavour ever calculated. 

Part of the problem, which economists and others have trouble grappling with, is that some of the costs are hard to calculate in strict, hard currency terms. To some, the only thing relevant is the economic benefit. Everything else is extraneous.

There are some significant externalities in that two-by-four, which are rarely accounted for in logging plans. The way logging is practised is based on reducing inputs and enhancing profit. A clear-cut, with the tangle of skid trails and roads, is hardly a gentle approach to other forest values. You will recognize this if you go out into the woods today.

Large logging footprints change the hydrologic response of a watershed, speeding run-off and exacerbating flooding. Intact forests store water; logged ones don’t. More sediment is added to receiving streams, reducing water quality for downstream users. Fish and wildlife populations, some of which are categorized as threatened or endangered, are put at substantial risk. Some will wink out of existence if the present practices continue.

It’s doubtful we will attract much in the way of tourists to gaze on fields of stumps, sediment and sawdust. Adding to the logging footprint will compound our climate-change woes, especially reducing the moderating effect of intact forests on floods and droughts. Logging does nothing to minimize wildfires, despite the rhetoric of the forest industry.


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Despite this, successive forestry ministers have ratcheted up the extent of logging — industrial-strength clear-cut logging — especially in the Eastern Slopes, our essential watersheds. It would seem all other forest values are extraneous to them.

Unfortunately, many Albertans who hold the Eastern Slopes dear have had little success in engaging in a meaningful, timely and transparent discussion with the forest service or the forest sector. It is as if logging is baked into the decision, it is the answer, and any questions are irrelevant. 

The stock response from the forest sector goes along the lines of “We follow all relevant rules and regulations.” Even if that were true, it would be good to understand they have lobbied successfully to substantially reduce the effect of the rules on their economic bottom lines.

Regulations might be effective if they weren’t administered by a captured agency, the forest service. The amount of regulatory oversight is minimal. We shouldn’t be fooled by the dubious greenwashing certification programs the industry hides behind.

Timber harvest, especially the scale of logging in the Eastern Slopes, should demand some analysis, some full-cost accounting of this land use. A transparent approach of assessing not just the benefits but also all the costs would put all of us in a better position to understand if the present system is in the public interest.

It would be best to do this before logging plans are set in stone and the feller bunchers are unloaded. This especially so for sensitive watersheds in the headwaters of the Oldman and Highwood rivers.

Full-cost accounting would tell us what we’re sacrificing for that two-by-four. If the sticker price included the real costs, it might persuade us to ask for genuine, sustainable logging practices, instead of today’s cut-and-run one. 

Lorne Fitch, P.Biol.

Portion of red emergency sign on hospital building

Fort Macleod Emergency Department to temporarily close Tuesday

The emergency department of Fort Macleod Health Centre will temporarily be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The temporary closure is the result of a physician shortage and regular 24-hour service will resume Friday morning.

Nursing staff will remain on-site during the closure to provide care for long-term care residents.

In the event of a medical emergency, Alberta Health Services advises residents and visitors to the community to call 911. EMS calls will be re-routed to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge (49 kilometres away).

Emergency services are also available at the health centres in Pincher Creek and Cardston, or at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge.

Non-emergency support is also available by calling Health Link at 811, and AHS advises that “individuals requiring non-emergency medical care are also encouraged to call their family physician.”


Related stories:

Fort Macleod Emergency Department to temporarily close

Recent Pincher Creek hospital closures worry residents


Aboriginal woman with dark, pulled-back hair, looking down from camera.

Theresa Red Young Man missing from Fort Macleod

Fort Macleod RCMP has requested assistance from the public in locating Theresa Red Young Man.

The 30-year-old woman was last seen in Fort Macleod on April 8, 2023, and there is concern for her well-being. RCMP say she may have been travelling to Calgary or Lethbridge.

Theresa is described as being 5′ tall and about 140 pounds. She has black hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion. Her hair could be blonde or black with red.

If you have any information regarding Theresa’s whereabouts, please contact Fort Macleod RCMP at 403-553-7220 or your local police.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or by using the P3 app available through the
Apple App or Google Play stores.

Portion of red emergency sign on hospital building

Fort Macleod Emergency Department to temporarily close

The emergency department of Fort Macleod Health Centre will temporarily be closed at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, and reopen at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 8.

The temporary closure is the result of a physician shortage and regular 24-hour service will resume Friday morning.

Nursing staff will remain on-site during the closure to provide care for long-term care residents.

In the event of a medical emergency, Alberta Health Services advises residents and visitors to the community to call 911. EMS calls will be re-routed to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge (49 kilometres away).

Emergency services are also available at the health centres in Pincher Creek and Cardston, or at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge.

Non-emergency support is also available by calling Health Link at 811, and AHS advises that “individuals requiring non-emergency medical care are also encouraged to call their family physician.”

The Pincher Creek emergency department has been closed a number of times this summer, causing concern in the community.

Photo of Indigenous woman with brown hair pulled; Lillian Scout of Piikani Nation.

Lillian Kathleen Scout located safe

UPDATE: Sept. 10, 2023

Piikani Nation RCMP have advised that Lillian Scout has been located and is safe.

ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 4, 2023

Piikani Nation RCMP has requested assistance from the public in locating Lillian Kathleen Scout.

The 43-year-old woman was last seen in the Brocket area on about Aug. 4, 2023, and there is concern for her well-being.

Lillian Scout is described as being 5′ 5″ and about 200 pounds. She has brown hair, brown eyes, and a heart tattoo on her right thumb.

If you have any information regarding Lillian’s whereabouts, please contact Piikani Nation RCMP at 403-965-2001 or your local police.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or by using the P3 app available through the
Apple App or Google Play stores.

Obituary notice for Roberta Robinson of Pincher Creek

Obituary for Roberta Robinson

I met by chance Roberta Williams, a bank manager in Olds, Alta. We were both divorced and hesitant to look past tomorrow. But we clicked on all cylinders, and love happened! Roberta overcame serious complications from surgery but we got through that. Our love grew and we were married in 1985.

We had an acreage, and while I worked away for three weeks at a time, Roberta would mow and trim the lawns and service the lawn mowers and have our yard looking pristine so that we could enjoy my days off together. She was also my company manager, secretary, treasurer and my best friend.

We travelled extensively, purchased a lakefront home in the Flathead Valley and enjoyed our life together. We sold the lakefront home to build our dream home here in Pincher Creek in 1995.

Roberta did most everything while I was away at work. She ordered and bought lumber, paid contractors, supervised and dealt with officials. She cleaned, painted and did whatever needed to be done while our home was being built.

Roberta was a hard worker, and a loyal and compassionate friend. Once, a friend called and hoped for help to get a costly treatment in the United States. Roberta gave that help. Another time, which I will never forget, a man came into the tavern we were eating in, selling old newspapers. He was shooed away from the tables but when he got to ours, Roberta said, “What papers do you have?” They were all two or three days old, but she said, “I’ll take three!” The man said, “I can’t take that; it is way too much money.” Roberta replied, “Then give me three more papers.” That is who she was.

As her health deteriorated, we were unable to travel, but she maintained her love for her family and grandchildren, and loved hearing from them. Her ongoing health problems were compounded by pneumonia and Covid. Her body had nothing left to fight with, and despite her doctors and nurses at her bedside, she passed away on Aug. 11, 2023.

I was fortunate and blessed by God to have been married for 38 years to the sweetest person I have ever known.

Obituary notice with photo of Pauline Warren of Pincher Creek

Obituary for Pauline Warren

Pauline Warren (Svab) of Pincher Creek, Alta., beloved wife of the late Mr. Clarence Keith Warren, passed away on Aug. 14, 2023, at the age of 89. 

Pauline is survived by her daughters: Veronica Warren (Ken Hanna), Paula Warren (Tobias Gelber), Gail Ames (Larry Ames). Her sons: Bruce Warren (Febri Warren), Doug Warren (Lorelei Schmidt-Warren) and Randolf (Randy) Rodden-Warren (predeceased). Grandchildren: Kaelan Hanna-Warren, Landon Warren, Cassandra Killins, Tyler Ames, Wade Ames, Scott Warren, Craig Warren, Clarice Warren, Nicholas Warren, Kristen Warren, Ellen Warren, Sara-Lynn McKenzie, Amanda Warren. As well as numerous great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and their families.

Pauline was predeceased by her parents, Michael and Maria Svab; husband, Clarence Keith Warren; brother, Michael Svab; infant sister; son, Randy Rodden-Warren; and grandchildren, Miranda, and Matthew Warren. 

Pauline was born in Papin, Czechoslovakia, on April 24, 1934, to parents Michael and Maria Svab and moved to Canada when she was about a year and a half. Pauline’s family was very active in the Pincher Creek community, owning a farm, a shoe shop and M&M Motors.

Pauline graduated from St. Michael’s School and went on to attend Mount Royal College in Calgary for business. After working in Calgary for several years she returned to Pincher Creek, where she worked at Turcott Law Office.

On June 22, 1968, Pauline married Clarence Keith Warren, blending two families and adding two more children. The Warrens became a busy family of six. Pauline was a dedicated and loving mother with endless energy for her demanding family.

Upon retirement, Pauline did not slow down. She was one of the founding members and driving forces of the Pincher Planters, beautifying the town with gardens. Pauline was known to carry garden clippers in her purse, just in case. She and Keith planted trees and developed many gardens at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village and were avid volunteers there. 

The family is forever grateful for the unprecedented kindness and friendship in recent years of Jackie Wiens.

A funeral mass took place on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Pincher Creek, Alta. Burial followed in Fairview Cemetery, Pincher Creek. A reception was held at Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village in Pincher Creek.

In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, memorial donations may be made to the Pincher Planters, PO Box 2932, Pincher Creek, AB, T0K 1W0; or to Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village, PO Box 1226, Pincher Creek, AB, T0K 1W0.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Eden’s Funeral Home.


Obituary notice with photo of John Henry Sinnott of Pincher Creek

Obituary for John Sinnott

John Henry Sinnott of Pincher Creek, beloved husband of the late Alice Sinnott, passed away on Aug. 12, 2023, at the age of 92.

He is survived by his stepdaughter, Barbara (Barry) Snow; stepsons Dan (Betty) Cleland and Neil (Corinne) Cleland; 10 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

Besides his loving wife, Alice, John was predeceased by his parents, Edward and Bessie Sinnott; siblings Ernie Sinnott, Olive Gerard and Annie Sorge; and stepson Murray Cleland.

John was born and raised in the Pincher Creek area. After graduation he went to Olds College, where he was the valedictorian of his graduating class. After that, he farmed and then owned the Massey Ferguson dealership.

John also played with a local dance band in the Pincher Creek, Twin Butte and Beaver Mines areas, as well as other southern Alberta towns. He loved listening to Daniel O’Donnell sing, and to the Emeralds dance band.

In 1982 he married Alice Cleland in Pincher Creek. They moved to Lundbreck and bought the confectionery and gas bar they ran for many years. John and Alice travelled to many interesting places together, having many adventures.

He was also instrumental in the building of the Lundbreck seniors centre and the Serenity Park at Crestview Lodge in Pincher Creek.

A funeral mass was held on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Pincher Creek, Alta. Burial followed in Fairview Cemetery, Pincher Creek. A reception took place at the Windsor Heritage Drop-In Centre in Lundbreck, Alta.

Donations in John’s memory can be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 220, 6223 Second St. S.E., Calgary, AB, T2H 1J5.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to .Eden’s Funeral Home

Note asking "who cares?" pinned to a cork board

Who cares?

On the heels of recent temporary closures of emergency services at the Pincher Creek hospital, Alberta Health Services hosted an information session at the Community Hall on the evening of Aug. 15. The meeting was intended to update local residents on what is being done to improve the health-care situation and to give us the opportunity to voice our concerns and suggestions directly with AHS officials.

The hall was pretty much full, a clear indicator that there are many in the community who care and are concerned about the state of, and future of, health care in Pincher Creek.

One got a sense that the AHS officials and hospital administration leading the meeting have the same understanding of the issues as the audience and legitimately care about implementing solutions. They seem to be struggling for answers; their hands are somewhat tied by regulation and funding, but they care and are trying to improve things.

The meeting was attended by the MD reeve and at least one councillor. (I’m unsure of town council attendance as I don’t really know them.) It seems our local government cares.

Local doctors (even one on maternity leave) were in attendance. They care.

Many were there in EMS uniform. They care.

Many hospital staff and retirees were there. They care.


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The Piikani care. An elder spoke eloquently about their issues and how much they value the Pincher Creek hospital and clinic.

However, a key person, someone who might be able to actually do something, was not in attendance. Not unlike what we had come to expect from her predecessor, our MLA was MIA when we needed her support. During the election campaign she missed a similar engagement because of more pressing matters. I wonder what kept her away this time. I wonder if she cares.

I personally don’t have any answers around improving the health-care system but can offer AHS one suggestion: choose your dates carefully. If you would have held the meeting on Saturday instead of Tuesday, there’s a good chance the MLA might have attended. It seems it takes the smell of pancakes or the noise of a parade to bring a Livingstone-Macleod MLA out of hiding.

Cornell Van Ryk

MD of Pincher Creek Resident

Obituary notice for Elizabeth Liesel Schubert of Pincher Creek

Obituary for Elizabeth Schubert

On Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, Elizabeth “Liesel” Maria Margaret Schubert passed away peacefully at Vista Village lodge in Pincher Creek, Alta.

Liesel was born in Klein Krotzenburg, Germany, to George and Maria May on April 6, 1937.

She married Konrad Schubert on Sept. 14, 1956, and shortly thereafter the newlyweds made the life-changing move to Western Canada. They settled in Calgary, where Liesel gave birth to two beautiful daughters: Bianca on May 22, 1957, and Brenda on April 6, 1962.

Liesel’s trade was primarily in the restaurant industry as a cocktail server. She proudly served for several years at the iconic Franzl’s Gasthaus in the trendy Mission district of Calgary. Liesel also worked her waitressing skills at the infamous Stetson Pub in south Calgary.

Upon semi-retirement, New Mexico became the couple’s snowbirding destination, where folks can go to happily beat the frigid Alberta winters. When those jaunts ended, Liesel and her husband moved to Sundre, Alta., for a number of years, where she worked in an assortment of traditional “cowboy” restaurant/bar establishments. In 2005 they made the move to the tiny hamlet of Cowley, Alta.

Liesel adored all animals and enjoyed spending time crocheting. Many family members and friends were blessed with delightful gifts of doilies, placemats and tablecloths, which will be forever cherished. While living in Cowley, she converted her raised playhouse into a shelter for homeless cats and their kittens. At one point she had 19 furry friends that she lovingly fed and watered.

Unfortunately, in 2015 Liesel’s health took a turn, so it was decided it would be best for her to transition into a care facility. Her last move was Vista Village in Pincher Creek, where she was loved and cared for by staff and residents alike.

Liesel was warm and caring. She was a nurturer and passed on her love of all animals to her entire family. She will be so dearly missed.

Liesel will be lovingly remembered by her daughters: Bianca Evans of Pincher Creek, Brenda Doyle (Barry) of Claresholm; grandchildren: Cameron (Kaley), Tera (Todd), Amanda (Derek) and Clayton; great-granddaughters: Amelia and Wylee, as well as three beautiful step-great-granddaughters and two step-great-grandsons; brothers: Eginhart (Edith), Gerhard and Helmut; numerous nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, Konrad Schubert; grandson Michael Evans; sister Erintrud; and brothers Willy, Karl, Adolf and Walter.

There will be a private memorial service to celebrate Liesel’s life.


View Additional Local Obituaries
The Breeze Mailbox header for letters to the editor

Putting the heat on the Liberals

As I travel throughout the Foothills riding this summer, I am reminded of the immense honour it is to represent the people from this beautiful part of southern Alberta. It is hard to believe that this past month marks nine years since I was first elected, in the 2014 byelection, to represent the hard-working Foothills residents.

What a journey it has been!

In my nine years as a member of Parliament, eight of them have been challenging the endless Liberal corruption, deficits and failed policies. Now more than ever, we are experiencing how these countless failures and missteps from this Liberal government are hurting every single Canadian.

Every day, I hear the concerns of my constituents about the future of our country.

I have heard from families who are struggling to afford food as grocery prices in Alberta have risen by 11 per cent, but data from Statistics Canada indicate grocery prices are actually much higher.

I have witnessed young people struggling to pay their rent and mortgages as the Bank of Canada raised its interest rates for the 10th time since spring 2022.

I’ve been informed by local business owners they can no longer afford their energy bills as they have tripled in the past year, devastating their operations.

Farmers have reached out saying they pay more in carbon taxes than the actual natural gas itself, making it nearly impossible to remain economically viable.

This is simply unacceptable. 

Liberal elites also continue to support Justin Trudeau’s attacks on Alberta energy and agriculture sectors, essential elements of our province’s economy.

The Liberals’ anti-energy “Just Transition” plans to eliminate 170,000 jobs in the oil and gas sector, 2.7 million jobs in related sectors (including 292,000 in agriculture) and $200 billion in yearly salaries.

Similarly, farmers continue to be punished with the burdensome red tape and inflationary taxes, placing the financial viability of Canadian agriculture and agri-food in jeopardy. 

Canada has reached a breaking point, yet the Liberals’ response is to continue their out-of-control spending and adding to our record-high deficit, sacrificing the economic well-being of our country.

Justin Trudeau’s most recent cabinet shuffle is just another example of his attempt to distract from all he has broken. This is not a solution. At the end of the day, families, businesses and farms cannot afford the policies and tax hikes imposed upon us by the Liberal-NDP coalition; they are failing our country and Canadians deserve better.

It is time to end the attacks on Canadian energy and agriculture. It is time to stop the Liberals from looking at Canadian farmers as part of the problem, because in fact, Canadian farmers are part of the solution, and the carbon tax has got to go.

I see our farm families, agriculture and our energy sector and the people it employs as parts of the economic and environmental solution. These industries build hospitals and schools and fund our social programs, and we should be proud of what these industries contribute to our society. I look forward to continuing the fight on behalf of farmers and all Canadians. 

While our challenges are many, I remain steadfast every day, working hard to earn the support, trust and confidence of my constituents. My commitment to listening to the insights, and voicing the concerns of my constituents will remain my utmost priority. 

Foothills, I want to thank you for your unwavering support over the years. I will continue to be a champion of our communities


Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff. 

Cowboy Riley Warren dismounts from his horse while roping a steer

Rodeo veterans show the way

Riley Warren knew that success at the Dawson Creek Stampede was critical if the veteran two-event hand wanted to salvage what has been a disappointing season to date. And the 33-year-old former Canadian champion did exactly what he needed to do, posting an 8.9-second run for $2,508.

The win gives the three-time high-point winner just over $9,000 for the season, leaving him still in an unfamiliar spot — well back of the twelve qualifying Canadian Finals Rodeo berths.

‘I’ve done pretty good at Dawson Creek in the past, placed a few times and split the win there with Keely Bonnett in 2017,” Warren reflected. “They hadn’t won much on that calf, but I got a really good start and I think that was the difference.”

“I’ve been riding a younger horse this year, Jag; he’s an 11-year-old gelding I was team roping on before,” Warren said.

“He runs hard and really stops — I’d like him to be the horse I ride through the second half of my career. Obviously, he’s not as seasoned or as solid as Peso (Logan Bird’s Horse of the Year) right now, but I think he’s got that kind of talent.”



Warren noted as well that the Dawson Creek win was doubly huge because it came at an SMS Equipment Pro Tour rodeo with the points counting toward the upcoming Tour Finale in Armstrong, B.C.

“With two more tour rodeos to go, if a guy could do something at those, that Tour Finale could be a game changer. I’ve broken the barrier this year for probably 5,000 and had calves get up for another five,” the 11-year pro noted.

“Yeah, some bad luck for sure and you just can’t stub your toe anymore. The roping is tougher now than it was a couple of years ago. There’s a bunch of young guys that just rope so well.”

All that said, Warren is excited about where he’s at.

“I know I’m still a ways back as far as getting to the CFR, but there’s no reason I can’t give myself a chance to get back in the hunt,” he said. “I’ve got momentum and confidence on my side.”


Ad for Creekview Dental Hygiene clinic in Pincher Creek


Another veteran timed-event cowboy, Morgan Grant, also enjoyed success on the weekend as the Didsbury, Alta., cowboy topped the field in the Dawson Creek steer wrestling with a 4.2-second run to take home the $2,216 winner’s cheque.

The win was critical for the three-time high-point champion as he was 13th in the bulldogging standings, just outside the 12 men that will travel to CFR in Red Deer in November.  


Ad for Shadowbar Shepherds Training in Pincher Creek


Saddle bronc rider Dawson Dahm continued his string of recent successes as he put up a solid 83.5 score on Duffy Rodeo’s 10 Bootilear to emerge victorious at the second CPRA weekend rodeo at the Rimbey Pro Rodeo and add $940 to his season’s earnings, keeping the Duffield, Alta., hand in the top five in the Canadian standings.

See Rodeo Canada for complete unofficial results.

CPRA athletes continue down the rodeo trail later this week with three stops: Maple Leaf Circuit events Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo and Cranbrook Pro Rodeo, Aug. 18 to 20, and a new addition, the British Columbia Northern Exhibition in Prince George, Aug. 17 to 19.


Enjoy the full Rodeo Week feature!


Obituary notice with photo of Margaret Neuberger

Obituary for Margaret Neuberger

Margaret Janet Neuberger of Pincher Creek was born Dec. 25, 1940, and passed away on July 19, 2023, at St. Michael’s
Palliative Care in Lethbridge.

She is survived by her husband, Alf; three children, Margaret, Alan (Rosalie) and Jennifer; three grandchildren, Ryan (Sam Valin), Zachary (Veronica) and Matthew (Kayla); nine great-grandchildren and numerous other family members.

At Margaret’s request there will be no formal funeral service.

A celebration of life for Jan Neuberger will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12, upstairs at the Pincher Creek Legion.

Family and friends are welcome to celebrate Jan’s life with us.

Knothole in weathered tree trunk on poster for Where Was Nancy contest

Where Was Nancy?

Where Was Nancy #2

Do you know where this photo was taken?

Send in your answer by Aug. 4 for a chance to win a beautiful laminated print!


Enter Now!


The answer and winner will be published in the August 9 issue of Shootin’ the Breeze


Creek running to a waterfall with lush greenery on the sides and a black train bridge in the background



Wedding banquet view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


Ad for Dragons Heart Quilt Shop in Pincher Creek


Where Was Nancy #1

Congratulations to contest winner Janet Tilbe

Ninastako (Chief Mountain)

One of the most photographed mountains in the region, Chief Mountain appears at the far east of the Rockies when you are driving south toward Waterton Lakes National Park on Highway 6.

The craggy block of the mountaintop slopes sharply down to the prairie below on a slippery shale base.

Visible for many days of travel by foot or on horseback to the earliest peoples of the prairies before lines were drawn on maps, it can currently be seen for most of a day’s travel by vehicle.

The mountain, known as Ninastako, “the mountain that stands apart,” is a sacred site of the Blackfoot people and the legendary home of Ksiistsi-koom (Thunder). 

Although the mountain is currently defined as located in Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation of Montana, it is unofficially adopted by all residents of Cardston County, everyone else in Alberta, and visitors to Waterton National Park from around the world.

For me, this mountain is a place of silence and beauty, whether the prairies below are covered by flowers in spring, golden grasses in fall, or snowy drifts in winter.



Golden field and yellow and green trees in front of a hazy, flat-topped mountain




Ace of spades card on ad for Chase the Ace at the Pincher Creek Legion


Three people skating on outdoor rink shown from knees down

C.N.P. council funds temporary outdoor rink, park improvements

During its June 20 meeting, Crowsnest Pass council approved two expenditures that will help improve outdoor recreation for residents.

Temporary outdoor rink 

Earlier this year the parks and recreation advisory committee began exploring options for a viable location for an outdoor skating rink. The idea was to pick a suitable area and run a test season to see if a permanent rink would be successful.

Several locations were considered, such as Frank Playground, Gazebo Park, Flumerfelt Park, Pete’s Park and Hillcrest Memorial. Ultimately, space just south of the Coleman Complex was selected.

The Coleman Complex was chosen partly because all necessary equipment and staff are on-site. When open, the building also provides a heated place for skaters to warm up.

Council approved the committee’s request to fund expenses of the rink, set at $1,750. Expenses include installing the ice ($911), wages for workers maintaining the rink ($647.70) and clearing the rink for an estimated five heavy snow events ($189.80).

With all the information provided by the committee, Coun. Dean Ward said moving forward with the trial rink is a logical thing for the municipality to do.

“I’m not convinced yet 100 per cent that an outdoor skating rink makes sense, but I think this is  a good way to give it a try,” he said. “It’s cheap, it’s reasonable, it’s in a good location — if it works out, let’s do something for permanent next year. This is a good way to trial it.”

Building the outdoor rink outside the complex, added Coun. Lisa Sygutek, is a good step toward determining a permanent location.

“I like the idea of trying it out here as it’s only a $1,700 ticket,” said Sygutek. “And if it’s super, super well used, the group really felt the best bang for the buck would be to do it at Pete’s Park and that we could look into that and budget implications in the future.”



Bellevue Memorial Park

At the request of the Bellecrest Association, council voted in favour of covering $5,500 in unexpected costs spent re-grading and landscaping the picnic area west of the concession in Bellevue Memorial Park.

Due to a water main break a few years ago, the picnic area had been rendered unusable. About 1,000 square yards was levelled with concrete blocks, a border of limestone boulders and compacted gravel to revitalize the space.

The association had $5,000 of funding at its disposal and initial permission from the parks department to go ahead, but unforeseen issues bumped up the overall project cost. These included the need for deeper trenches for electric and sprinkler lines, extra concrete blocks, and cutting back broken concrete to allow for better grading.

Despite the larger-than-expected cost, Coun. Doreen Glavin said the work was something that needed to be completed.

“I actually commend Bellcrest Association for actually improving it and fixing it, because as far as I’m concerned it was a big safety issue,” she said. “I understand maybe they shouldn’t have went ahead and did it, but they did have permission not to grade the slope towards the adjacent lot because that’s how it was to start with.”

“There’s an awful lot more usable space there now,” added Coun. Glen Girhiny. “It surprised me how much room there was there, actually, in the end, compared to what it was before. It should’ve been fixed a long time ago.”

Not talking to the municipality about the situation before the work was completed, however, was something that concerned council and administration.

“My only concern here is process. I’m concerned that groups will go out, do work, without talking to the municipality first, and then they show up here,” said Coun. Ward. “To me they should’ve come to administration before they did the work. You don’t get to just do stuff and then show up and say here’s the bill.”

“It would be better to come at the front end and we can make a conscious decision if that’s a project we’re going to go ahead with, instead of coming at the tail end,” added CAO Patrick Thomas.

Although OK with covering the cost, Coun. Sygutek said the municipality’s expectations needed to be made clear with the Bellecrest Association.

“Those issues are going to come at us with any group. The difference is this group is a very functional group and they did a really great job,” she said, “but I think that they need, not a reprimand, but it made very clear that they need to come to us in these situations.”

As a result, council directed administration to provide the needed funds and also send a letter to the association explaining the municipality’s expectations.

Next meeting

The next Crowsnest council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m. in council chambers.

Yellow snow plow on icy road

Pincher Creek drafting new snow-removal policy

Any talk of snow during the summer is typically considered blasphemous, though in a place like Pincher Creek the risk of flurries is never zero.

“I’ve seen snow in every month in this place,” Mayor Don Anderberg said with a chuckle during Pincher Creek council’s July 5 committee of the whole meeting.

The topic of the dreaded white stuff stemmed from a request from administration for council members to brainstorm what principles and values should guide the town’s snow-removal policy, which is due for an overhaul.

“We’ve looked at our existing policy and think that this is great time, rather than tweaking it, to just start fresh and set what are the expectations,” said director of operations Alexa Levair.

“That gives us a better idea of what council is looking for when we’re coming back and presenting some policy options moving forward.”

In general, administration was looking for what the town’s priorities should be regarding areas plowed, if snow removal should emphasize residents’ ability to drive versus walk, and what target should be set for costs.

Since snow removal has a multitude of options the town could pursue, community feedback would be key, Levair added.

“Snow removal is one of the most talked-about issues amongst the community and residents. We are recommending that council direct us to draft a public engagement strategy so we can gather some feedback that we can then provide back to council saying this is what we heard back from the community,” she said.



Coun. Sahra Nodge said she wanted to make sure public engagement included Pincher Creek’s schools due to the specific concerns of busing and students walking to school.

“I’m wanting to make sure there’s safe travel before school hours,” she said. “There’s a lot more encouragement for kids walking to school, so it’s important to ensure there are safe crosswalks in the school areas [and] that those crosswalks aren’t being obstructed by snow piles.”

Accessibility was something Coun. Wayne Oliver said the policy should consider, such as clearing windrows in front of driveways or making sure the parking lot at town office is clear. Adaptability, he added, was something the policy needed to consider too.

“We all know in southern Alberta it could look different one year to the next, one month to the next,” Coun. Oliver said.

“Two inches of snow but a 60-kilometre wind from the east is going to leave us with something that is different than two inches of snow with a 60-kilometre wind from the west, so whatever we design in our policy certainly has to have adaptability baked into it,” he said. “Here’s the budget challenge, because we never know year to year what kind of snow we’re going to get.”

Mayor Anderberg suggested creating a municipal reserve for snow removal could offer stability between years with little snowfall and those with a lot. Revisiting enforcement for clearing sidewalks, he continued, was also something he wanted council to consider.

“I get a lot of good feedback about how the town does their work as far as snow removal on the streets,” the mayor said. “The one piece of negative feedback I get a lot is private sidewalks, commercial space — how that snow is handled or not handled — which we used to enforce fairly heavily at one time. It doesn’t seem we enforce heavily now.”

Administration will take the next few weeks to consider council’s discussion and draft a new snow-removal policy, which will be reviewed by council at the next committee of the whole meeting, scheduled for Aug 2.

The next regular council meeting will be held Monday, July 24, 6 p.m. in council chambers.

Indigenous woman with pulled-back grey hair and glasses holds her hand to her chest while accepting an honour from a woman with shoulder-length grey hair and glasses.

Triumph of Spirit

On the afternoon of May 26, Beatrice Little Mustache stood in a spectacular and festively decorated University of British Columbia auditorium to address the large graduating class. Beatrice had been invited there specifically to receive the highest award the university gives, namely an honorary doctor of laws degree (honoris causa, for the sake of honour).

The chancellor of the university, who stood next to her at the podium that day, was Steven Point, former lieutenant-governor of B.C. and the first Indigenous person to hold the chancellor position there.

Point is of the Skowkale First Nation and is a huge advocate for Indigenous Peoples. His pride, on hearing Beatrice’s journey and contributions throughout her life so far, shone from his face that afternoon.

That journey to get to this remarkable point in time for Beatrice Little Mustache has been a long one, with many trials. Born in 1948, she was the fourth of eight children of Nick and Agnes Smith and was delivered by a midwife on the Piikani reserve at Brocket.

Growing up they were all raised in Blackfoot culture and speak fluent Blackfoot, something the church tried hard to eradicate. They were disciplined with love not strapping, like in the residential school, and are deeply religious.

Her parents taught her the values she carries today: “To be kind, caring, gentle and positively assertive when I need to be.”

They also taught her the seven sacred teachings, through the stories of her ancestors. Those teachings are truth, humility, wisdom, honesty, courage, respect and love.


Indigenous woman dressed in turquoise and light-coloured leather regalia standing on rocks with blue sky in background

Beatrice Little Mustache (Ii naak sii pii taa kii), in traditional regalia made by her own hand, stands proudly against the wind in the hills overlooking her home on Piikani Nation. An elder and knowledge keeper, Beatrice is one who looks for lessons in life experiences. Her ability to turn around the most difficult of situations, and her passion for helping others and for Indigenous Peoples advocacy, are positive traits she is known for. In late May, she was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of British Columbia.
Photo by Leah Hennel, Alberta Health Services



Vice-chancellor Deborah Buszard spoke at great length to the graduates about Beatrice’s journey and her accomplishments to date. She then officially requested that chancellor Point confer the honorary doctor of laws degree on her.

She then invited Beatrice’s nephew Ryan Smith to the stage, where he stood and profoundly sang a Black Horse Society song, one that belongs specifically to her family (clan).


Indigenous man with short greying hair wearing a black shirt with intricate beadwork sings while another Indigenous man and a white woman listen intently behind him.

After an honorary degree was bestowed on Beatrice Little Mustache, her nephew Ryan Smith sang an a capella family song. Steven Point, chancellor of the University of British Columbia, was visibly drawn into the spirit of the song after presenting Beatrice with her degree.
Photo courtesy of Beatrice Little Mustache


Buszard stated that Beatrice was a survivor of residential schools but “did not allow the trauma she endured to break her spirit, nor her will to seek lifelong wisdom and serve the needs of others.”

That journey is now 44 years long, working in positions in adult and child welfare in all levels of government — band, municipal, provincial and federal. Beatrice has held leadership positions with Piikani Family Services, Alberta Provincial Child Welfare and the First Nations Health Consortium. All in the service of her Piikani First Nation and other Treaty 7 First Nation communities.

What is remarkable about Beatrice is that while working full time she raised five children and graduated from Mount Royal College with a diploma in social work. She later went on to acquire a bachelor of social work degree at the University of Calgary.

These days, Beatrice is active as a longtime trustee with the Peigan Board of Education, including 13 years as its chairwoman.

Since 2017 she has worked hard to promote enhanced education on issues pertaining to treatment and planning for First Nations youth in care. This work is done under the umbrella of a program known as Jordan’s Principle. This principle is described as a child-first, needs-based initiative that ensures all First Nations children have equitable access to all government-funded services.

This initiative came about after five-year-old Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation died in hospital in 2005 amid a jurisdictional dispute between provincial and federal governments.


Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


More recently, Beatrice has taken a leading role in trying to address the opioid crisis on the Piikani reserve. She shared a statistic with me about how many have been lost in one year there that left me stunned. She is undeterred in her determination to do all she can for her people.

Her words to the UBC graduates last month were profoundly important and in them were several messages.

It was her observation to them all that “Education is the key to positive change in all social and economic problems in life.”

She went on to say, “In this life we never know where the journey will lead us. In this era of truth and reconciliation, it is important for you graduates to be considerate of First Nations people and more importantly our children. Be respectful to their culture and their language and always seek guidance from the elders in your community. For they are the knowledge keepers.”

She then challenged the grads to step out of their comfort zone and go educate themselves on First Nations territories. “Learn our culture and protocols; maybe even attend a powwow. By doing this you will see a world different from who you are. You will see the seven sacred teachings in action.”


Two Indigenous woman with glasses wearing bright turquoise outfits.

Beatrice Little Mustache, right, and daughter Edna Fairbrother at a 2020 event in Cranbrook.
Photo courtesy of Beatrice Little Mustache


Beatrice Little Mustache has faced a number of extremely challenging life experiences, including a devastating house fire, the death of two spouses and a child, and the continuing mistreatment of her First Nations people and children. But after 44 years she continues to apply those seven sacred values in her advocacy on behalf of children, parents and elders.

A traditional dancer and gifted seamstress of regalia, she participates in community events to unite families and to honour elders. She is, among many things, an ardent golfer and scored a hole-in-one on the Pincher Creek course in 2020.

Beatrice Little Mustache’s resilience serves as an example to all of us, for hers is a life that has been lived and her journey continues.


First published in the June 7, 2023, issue of Shootin’ the Breeze.

Dr. Greg Steed, a grey-haired man wearing black scrubs with medical mask under his chin, on his retirement from dentistry.

Best wishes on your retirement, Dr. Steed!

June 7 marked the last day of dental practice for Dr. Greg Steed of Pincher Creek. His retirement comes as he is replaced by Dr. Regan Evanson, who has now started at Ascent Dental and will be practising with Dr. Mark Leishman and Dr. David Baker.

Dr. Steed has been a dentist in Pincher Creek for 41 years. He took his education at the University of Alberta, where he received his undergraduate science degree and his doctorate of dentistry. Following graduation, he worked in Fort Macleod for one year before moving with his family to Pincher Creek, where he has resided since.

Dr. Steed and his wife, Cheralyn, have four daughters. Their oldest, Rashelle, is married to Dr. Leishman, so there is a family connection that remains at the dental clinic. Their other daughters live in Edmonton, Georgia and Tennessee.

Greg and Cheralyn greatly appreciate their decision to come to Pincher Creek. It has been a great place to live and raise a family, and they plan on continuing to live here. The community has provided opportunities for their family and many positive associations.

According to Dr. Steed, dentistry has made many advancements over the years. 



When he was in dental school, there was no availability or training in light-cured tooth coloured restorative materials, but these materials have gradually developed so that they are now very reliable. Articaine is a local anesthetic that was developed years after his graduation and has brought much quicker and deeper anesthesia for dental procedures. New full tooth coloured crown materials are now strong and very esthetic compared to the previous alternatives of full metal or porcelain fused to metal crowns.

Dr. Steed took an interest in orthodontics early in his career in Pincher Creek, because of the distance and time to see specialists elsewhere. He took hundreds of hours of additional training over the years in the techniques to straighten teeth, and he and his staff have found orthodontics to be challenging and rewarding. 

He is quick to give credit to the many wonderful staff who have worked with him over the years who have been integral to his practice of dentistry.

Ultimately, he would like to thank those many patients who have put their trust in him. His patients have come mostly from the Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation areas.

Dentistry is famously unattractive to many individuals and Dr. Steed is appreciative of those he was able to work with as patients. He always felt he gave his best effort at any given time. He will miss his associations with patients, but will not miss the stress he shared with patients in challenging situations. He is grateful for the many positive outcomes where he felt he made a difference.



Dr. Steed is looking forward to having more freedom in his schedule to pursue time on his acreage outside of Pincher Creek, being involved in the community, spending more time with family, and being on the mountain trails and lakes this summer.

Dr. Evanson has started seeing patients at Ascent Dental and will be moving to Pincher Creek next week with his wife and three children. Dr. Evanson and his wife are from southern Alberta and are excited to have the opportunity to be in Pincher Creek with its small-town advantages and recreational opportunities in the nearby foothills and mountains. 

Dr. Steed wishes Dr. Evanson the best as he practises in Pincher Creek and serves this area of southwestern Alberta.


Related Articles:

Dr. Steed takes dentistry from Pincher Creek to Tonga

Old fashioned log cabin with wooden bench in front – heading for Frontier Canadian Recollections

North West Mounted Police veteran James B. Bruneau

Although James Bruneau became well known locally for his long-term ranching endeavours, his first claim to fame was serving as a member of the original nine-man North West Mounted Police detachment and horse ranch here at Pincher Creek.

Frontier career with NWMP

James Benning Bruneau was born in Quebec on April 22, 1856. When he enlisted with the NWMP at the age of 21, Bruneau gave his address as 23 Beaver Hall Hill in Montreal. It was there that he was raised and educated.

Eager to ensure the success of his candidacy, Bruneau wrote a series of letters to the dominion minister of militia and the Department of the Secretary of State in early 1877, highlighting his interest and qualifications in joining the force.

His efforts were successful, for he officially joined up as a Mountie effective June 5, 1877. It was a three-year appointment that lasted till the late spring of 1880. His regimental number was 216 and he served as a constable. Bruneau’s height was listed as five feet eight inches.

Although much of Bruneau’s tenure with the NWMP was at Fort Macleod, a portion of it was stationed at the force’s detachment and horse ranch at Pincher Creek. He was part of the second contingent of the nine-man crew assigned to establish this important horse-breeding outpost during the autumn of 1878.

The Montreal-raised constable assisted with felling timbers in the Christie Mine Ridge area to the southwest of the force’s ranch; these were used for its outbuildings and corrals. Bruneau also assisted with raising the herd of horses, numbering over 200, which had been trailed into the ranch that fateful autumn.

Upon his honourable discharge from the NWMP, Bruneau quickly settled in the Pincher Creek area.

During the late summer of 1884, he was one of three candidates (the others being Max Brouillette and George Ives) to place contract bids to courier via stagecoach the Dominion Postal Service mail between the newly established post office at Pincher Creek and its neighbour to the east, Fort Macleod. He offered to do the work for an annual fee of $900 but it was Ives’s quote of $600 that was accepted.



Homestead south of Pincher Creek

Bruneau quickly found his new calling in the local ranching industry. He established a homestead in Section 7, Township 4, Range 28, West of the Fourth Meridian. It was situated in the Yarrow District, just east of the point where Yarrow Creek flows into the Waterton River. Bruneau operated a successful cattle ranch there until he sold it circa 1900 to Reginald Windham and Robert Wright, who specialized in raising horses.

Bruneau’s family included his wife, the former Mary Ann Berry, best known as Annie, who was a dozen years younger than he. She was born March 28, 1868, in Ontario as the fifth child and eldest daughter in the William and Emma Berry family. They moved west in 1884 to establish a homestead in the Chipman Creek district and an early hardware store in Pincher Creek, known as Wm. Berry and Son.

James Bruneau and Mary Berry were wed in Pincher Creek in December 1887 and had two children: a son, Charles H., who was born Oct. 4, 1888, and a daughter, Edna M., whose birth was dated Jan. 29, 1890. Eventually there were several grandchildren, some of whom lived in Washington state.

James Bruneau passed away on Christmas Day 1919. He was 63.

Research sources accessed for this history article included the North West Mounted Police personnel records, housed at Library and Archives Canada, and the Dominion of Canada Census for 1911.