What is it with the shortage of volunteers these days? There seems to be a trend of expecting governments to do more and fewer people willing to pitch in to make things happen. This goes for service clubs and church groups (members getting older and fewer) and volunteers in general.

Maybe it’s just a reflection of the aging of the population. The same sort of thing is happening in whole sectors of the economy, with not enough young people filling in as the oldsters hang ‘em up.

The answer to that problem is immigration. It is keeping Canada running and the same thing must be happening in many other countries.

So is the solution the same for volunteers? Somehow tap into the pool of younger, immigrant people to fill up the gaps?

Who knows, but it’s certainly a possibility.

In Canmore and similar tourist hotspots, the demand for service industry workers is huge; one way it’s met is by relaxed work visa terms for (mostly) young people from around the world who come for the skiing or the mountain experience generally. They need cash to support their recreational pursuits; bars and restaurants badly need people to sling suds and such. It’s a good match, but it doesn’t do much for Slave Lake and places like it.

It’s looking like a good season for bears

Walking around Slave Lake you tend to notice things that people who only drive back and forth don’t. One is all the nonsense people get up to along the trail system (shopping carts in the creek, crazy amounts of litter). Another is urban wildlife (foxes, coyotes, etc.). Another one is the berry crop, which is often a good indication of how attractive it will be for bears in the late summer and fall, and how long they are likely to be around.

Early indications are of a very good chokecherry crop, which is good news for hungry bears and maybe not such good news for the people who use those trails. Early indications are that at least one bear has already been in town, checking it out.

It probably wasn’t a bear that dragged a couple of full bags of garbage from somewhere in town onto the trails and ripped them open, leaving the contents all over the ground. It’s a bit too much for your casual volunteer litter picker-upper (yes, there are people who do this) to deal with. We’re hoping the Town of Slave Lake trail maintenance people will take care of it. While they’re at it they might want to organize the removal of the three shopping carts in the creek under the railway bridge, not to mention the bicycles and other junk in there.

by Staff

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