Due to cutbacks at Alberta Tourism, Parks & Recreation, there will be no grooming or tracksetting on the Ribbon Creek, Kananaskis Village, Skogan Pass trails this winter.
The Alberta minister responsible for this decision is Cindy Ady. Her website is http://tpr.alberta.ca/newsroom/minister.aspx, or you can go directly to her feedback email TPR.Communications@gov.ab.ca.
You can also give feedback about this situation to Tourism, Parks, and Recreation here. On the Feedback page, when it asks for “Park Name,” I believe it should be “Evan-Thomas Recreation Area.” Someone correct me if I’m wrong.
You could also contact your MLA. You can search for your MLA by postal code http://streetkey.elections.ab.ca/skSearchPostal.cfm
I’ve put a permanent link for this on the sidebar. Thanks to Clive for sending in the feedback link.
This is what I sent to Dave Nielsen at K-Country-
I am writing to voice my concerns regarding the decision to suspend grooming and tracksetting on the Ribbon Creek ski trail system. As the closest cross-country ski trails to Calgary with generally reliable snow conditions, the Ribbon Creek network has been particularly popular with families who appreciate the easier trails between Ribbon Creek and the village, close by facilities such as picnic areas, the hostel and the hotels.
More experienced skiers also find that this network has a lot to offer, and as a bonus, the sunny aspect of many trails gives a warmer, safer alternative in arctic weather to the more shaded trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
Thus it has been a bit of a shock to hear, that without any apparent consultation with skiers, K-Country has decided to abandon grooming at Ribbon Creek for the 2009-10 season. Yes, the trails will still be there for those skiers who want to break their own track, but the reality is that for most, cross-country skiing is done on maintained trails. Of course, West Bragg is an option, but with fickle snow conditions it cannot be relied upon. I understand that in these difficult economic times, some cost- cutting may be required, but I would question the real savings to be gained, when you consider the following:
-Skiers will be forced to drive, at a minimum, another ½ hour each way to access groomed XC trails. How much does that cost?
-What is the impact of all that extra traffic on the Kananaskis environment, and the wildlife?
-If this is to be permanent, what will it cost to build new facilities to accommodate the increased use of the PLPP trails? For instance, the Elk Pass trailhead is already filled to overflowing on most weekends.
-Will the lack of groomed trails cause tourists to look elsewhere for their winter vacation?
Maybe even outside Alberta?
I would be curious to know just how much is being saved by not grooming at Ribbon Creek, to enable a comparison with the impacts listed above. Hopefully, those responsible will be willing to take a second look.
Tourism,Parks and Recreation’s response to an inquiry from me, suggested that there will still be plenty of groomed skiing available at Canmore and Mount Shark. While these locales do have plenty of trails, they are more suited to racing or “fitness” skiers, and are not that interesting to average recreational skiers, who are looking to tour to a destination, or around a loop with some scenic variety, rather than a loop to nowhere.
Mount Shark is also a far longer drive from Calgary, off the Smith-Dorrien road which was unplowed until 11 am on Saturday morning. I would also note that the Shark trails have not been groomed since Nov. 24 despite plenty of snowfall, according to the K-Country trail report(always reliable, right?).
Some alternative to the Ribbon trails!
End of rant :<)