Minister Cusanelli: No user fees

Have you seen the new sign at the entrance to PLPP?

Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Christine Cusanelli must have seen the sign, because today she tweeted: “I encourage all Albertans to get outdoors & active. There will be no trail fees for K-Country cross country trails this season or next”.

Below, you can read what I had already written about this controversy. It appears academic now.


I didn’t ski today, but others did, and they gave us a couple excellent trip reports. I sympathize with Elaine Bouey, because I’ve experienced the same situation at Elk Pass in the past: too much snow. It can make for some difficult skiing when it’s wet, especially coming down the steep hills. Elaine’s estimate of a foot of new snow was spot on, as confirmed by the PLPP trail report.

This is what I’m hoping Elk Pass will be like on the weekend

It rained for a good part of the day in Canmore, but the temperature has finally dropped(it’s -10°C as I write this at 8 pm), so the trail crews should be able to start grooming soon. Unfortunately the roads will be treacherous. Lac Des Arcs has already seen two accidents tonight, including a roll-over.

The PLPP trail report was updated today, and states that “All grooming and tracksetting of the 16th will be snow covered with up to 30 cm of new snow at the highest elevations.” It also mentions the lower elevation trails had 10 cm.

From Al Schaffer’s Chester Lake adventure, it sounds like Mt Shark should have received some new snow as well.

Canmore Nordic Centre

If you’re thinking if skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre this weekend, there’s some important information on the CNC page which you should be aware of.


PLPP user fees

The debate about user fees in PLPP rages on, as it should. I sent an email today to my MLA, Ron Casey, asking for his position on user fees. I will publish his response on here if I get one.

Oleg is correct in his assertions that we need to know more about the proposal before acquiescing. My friend Chip left a relevant comment on Tony Daffern’s Kananaskis Trails blog which I believe is the minimum we should expect from the government before we can consider their proposal seriously:

Chip stated:

“…it has not been made clear that a user fee system makes economic sense (ignoring other dimensions of the debate, such as the philosophical issue of fees for use on public lands). In order to do this, we would need to know the cost of administering and enforcing the system, as well as the health impact of a change in usage associated with the system (Would fewer people make use of the system and would this have downstream consequences for health care?)

I’m not an economist, but I have the strong suspicion that this is a money-losing proposition, unless the fees imposed were much higher than a reasonable person would pay. Let’s see the numbers and then make a decision.”

If this issue rears its ugly head in the future, let’s hope the government comes up with a  well-thought-out plan, with all the relevant information, upon which we can make an informed decision.

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  1. Meanwhile the proles skiing in areas not within driving distance of a provincial or national park carry on business as usual……paying membership fees, volunteering, and improving their communities as a whole instead of griping about supporting their sport. I have been following this whole discussion around this issue with amusement bordering on disbelief.

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