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Goverment cancels tracksetting and grooming in Kananaskis & PLPP

 | Published on 3/3/2020

Most of you will have seen this announcement by now

https://albertaparks.ca/news-events/?fbclid=IwAR2U_Ltc510XOy237iPD_jiFg-gI-0ZF39Ly6INeG3RZZ-WToy1dIShE9Kk

I think most of us respect the need for fiscal restraint and the need to close underutilized areas. However I am disappointed the government did not consult with stakeholders prior to making the decision.  The Kananaskis’ and Peter Lougheed areas are the winter playgrounds for many Albertans.  They are, in my opinion, flagship parks that represent the natural beauty of Alberta, both to Albertans and visitors from around the world.  It is my intention to try to work cooperatively with other clubs and local skiers to meet with the government representatives to come to a constructive solution that is sustainable and works long term for the benefit of Albertans.  We will of course try to change their mind but will welcome any proposals that will satisfy the needs of skiers and snow-shoers.

I took the liberty of posting below some reactions from members and others that I received over the last few hours.  Thank you for your thoughts and ideas

 This trail system is what makes living here so nice. No great lakes or ocean to play on but mountains that are made accessible via these trails!!!  Terri Millinoff

I’m heart-broken a trail fee wasn’t proposed, and will be writing letters, but am unclear what can be done beyond that. Erika Harrison

I propose the CSC and other clubs invite all Calgary- & West of Calgary-based MLAs for a free cross-country lesson in Kananaskis delivered by the our instructors.  Maybe we could actually invite ALL provincial MLAs? Joad Clement

 This will overwhelm the already busy trails at Bragg Creek and may inundate City golf courses causing damage. It seems the City is also looking at privatizing the golf courses which may further affect skiing in the City as well. I get the need for fiscal prudence but shouldn't some of this have been discussed with affected local groups first for possible solutions.  Kathryn Honkonen

I was shocked to see the government trying again to close the park for xcountry skiing. I’m not a member of your club but am interested in what can be done to have this decision reversed. It would be a huge loss to the public to have this special place closed.   Everett (no last name given)

Cuts to recreation like this may affect tourism, further affecting government revenues.  Albertans may choose to go elsewhere on their vacations, rather than spending their dollars at home.  People from outside the province may decide not to come to Alberta.  Spencer Isaac

 

"I love seeing a positive approach coming forward with thought based options and not focused on whining and crying. Well done. I do think there are some options here for entrepreneurs and clubs to step in and take over the operations and move them forward. People will pay for memberships to ski. Maybe discounts for local memberships and pick up the extra on the back of tourists. Could maybe even bundle in or offer some backcountry hut excursions out of the clubs. From the government perspective it makes sense to cut here. They still offer some track set so it’s not totally gone and can focus the money saved to health and education and economy stimulus."David W

I grew up using trails and parks in the Peter Lougheed area and it gave me an appreciation for what this amazing country and province has to offer. My love and respect for the outdoors were never felt stronger than when I was on those trails. Privatizing or closing spaces that rightfully belong to all Albertans would be a huge disservice. It will rob young Canadians of the opportunity to experience what I did and to shape them into responsible stewards of the environment and of this province.

At a time when Albertans are increasingly at odds between the environment and the economy it is more important than ever that these trails are accessible. I find it hard to believe that the economic impact of cutting public funding for our trails and parks will outweigh the impact that it will have on the quality of life for Albertans.

Finally, cuts to these parks and trails will also translate to cuts in tourism revenue.   Katie Shea

 

I get the need for fiscal restraint, however there are some parks and facilities I would consider to be flagship parks.  These are the ones that attract tourists to our province.  They represent the natural beauty that is Alberta to both Albertans and tourists from around the world.  These types of facilities should not be on the list.  I would love to see a constructive discussion between skiers, clubs and the Government around possible trail fees, some volunteer grooming, access to the equipment and facilities owned by the parks to make this work for all Albertans.   John Walton

We have seen some successful park management out of the US with privatization, but I am not comfortable with the fire sale approach to these resources one bit.  There is no doubt these changes will generate fear, but what regulations and guidelines have been put in place to ensure the usage of these regions will be maintained?  

 

At the very least, there will need to be a body that oversees this process, with a well identified strategy.  The fall off the cliff approach is too wide open.  I haven’t read enough to see if this even exists.  

I want to quit my job today and go take care of the parks. My heart is breaking.  Stephanie Savage