Alberta Hiking Association Newsletter
· AHA Hikeathon
· AGM June 2022
· Bighorn Backcountry Standing Committee Report by Simon Dyer
· AHA Club Survey
AHA Hikeathon: Come Hike with Us
Join the Alberta Hiking Association “Hikeathon” this fall. Funds raised will go towards expanding our website, capacity building initiatives, and administrative support for the organization.
You can join the Hikeathon:
· as an individual or with a group; or
· your club could designate a regular hike as a “AHA Hikeathon” hike. Members may register for the Hikeathon, or to keep it super simple, your club could collect cash donations and forward them to the AHA.
Thanks to the Friends of Kananaskis Country for publishing a review of 9 Satellite Communications Devices from 5 different manufacturers in one of their recent newsletters.
310-LAND (5263) was launched in October 2021 to make it easier for Albertans to report public safety incidents, illegal activity, dangerous wildlife encounters, and enforcement concerns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Albertans can also call 310-LAND for general inquiries on weekdays between 8:15 am and 4:30 pm.
Alberta Hiking Association
Annual General Meeting
The AGM was held June 29, 2022, and attended (virtually) by four Board members and seven Association members. Murray Fierheller was appointed to the Board.
Alberta Environment and Parks staff, Jamie Bruha and Amanda Halawell, presented an update on the implementation of the Alberta Trails Act.
2021/22 Annual Report
The Alberta Hiking Association (otherwise known as AHA) is primarily an umbrella organization for hiking clubs from across the province. The AHA is a registered non-profit society and provides a strong province-wide voice for hikers who had little or no such voice in the past. AHA was incorporated as the “Hike Alberta Society” on June 19, 2008, under the Alberta Societies Act. A Board of Directors was elected following a meeting in Red Deer on November 1, 2008. The name was changed to the “Alberta Hiking Association” in 2009. More information about us can be found on our website: www.abhiking.ca.
With significant help from our board members and volunteers we continued to be the main voice for hikers in Alberta using letter writing or other communications and participation at planning tables. We need board and volunteer representation from Edmonton and the north especially. We have made good progress on our website renewal and newsletter and need to continue to do more outreach and communications with our member clubs to ensure we help to meet their needs and expand membership where feasible. We also need to build up our fund-raising capabilities. The implementation of the Trails Act in particular should provide more opportunities for trail clubs to become more actively involved in planning, developing and maintaining trails on provincial crown lands and we hope to encourage this. We also hope to use our website to provide more and better information/education especially for the many new hikers in the province.
1. Coal Policy: Advocated to the Minister and Coal Policy Committee to restore provisions of the earlier, more restrictive, Coal Policy. Thanks to Gavin Fitch for his help with this!
2. Trails Act: Advocated with AEP staff and the Minister to focus on real needs for non-motorized trail opportunities and for a larger role of AHA in the “implementation” phase.
3. Kananaskis Conservation Pass: Communicated with the Minister and KC staff to ensure appropriate funds were directed to assist Trail organizations including Friends of KC and Bragg Creek Trails who build and maintain trails here.
4. Renewed the AHA website thanks to generous donation by Joanne David of Waskahegan Trails. We hope to obtain grant funds to continue upgrading based on this donation.
5. Ran first Hikeathon event in fall of 2021 and raised $1,000 cash to use as matching funds for grant.
6. Members services:
a. Re-established the “Hikers Voice”, the quarterly newsletter (tx Anita Thomas!).
b. Organized several Zoom sessions on the Trails Act, KC Conservation Fee, Safe Snowshoeing, Outdoor Council Leadership course etc.
c. Shared appropriate notices/items from related organizations (e.g., CPAWS, AWA, FKC, GDT et al).
d. Conducted a member survey.
e. Arranged members discounts at Craze Outdoors and Atmosphere.
f. Welcomed new members from Grand Cache who represent us at the regional planning level.
Bighorn Backcountry Standing Committee Report submitted by Simon Dyer:
Simon Dyer represents Alberta Hiking Association as the summer non-motorized representative on the Bighorn Backcountry standing committee for the public land use zones that make up the Bighorn Backcountry west of Nordegg and east of Banff and Jasper National Parks. Alberta Hiking Association continues to advocate for more resources and management to support the wonderful hiking opportunities in the Bighorn. In part due to advocacy by Alberta Hiking Association, the area will receive $8.4 million in upgrades from 2021-2024 and include:
· enlarging the Coliseum Mountain Trail Parking lot and installing a small footbridge
· enlarging the Allstones Lake Hiking Trail parking lot and redesign access to the parking lot
· a new parking lot and toilet at Hoodoo Creek Trail
· installation of toilets and bear proof food lockers at Abraham Slabs Random Camping Area.
· gravelling and day-use parking lot installation at Preachers Point
· a new highway approach, access road and bear proof food lockers at Preachers Point South Random Camping Area.
· repairing the access road and sites and installing toilets and bear proof food lockers at the Wildhorse Creek Random Camping Area.
· a new parking lot for river staging at Owen Creek.
· bear-proof backcountry food lockers at 8 backcountry camping sites.
The Government of Alberta is also looking for volunteers to participate in trail planning in the Nordegg area, including areas east of the current public land use zones. A public survey is open to collect information about trail use and is available here https://arcg.is/1fejyn.
If you have comments on trail conditions or suggestions about improving the hiking experience in the Bighorn, please contact AHA or Simon at email@example.com and he can advance them at the standing committee.
Alberta Hiking Association 2020 Club Survey
The AHA conducted a survey of the member clubs in the spring of 2022. Fourteen out of twenty member clubs responded (70% response rate). Club membership varies from 15 to 300 people, the average is 200. Nine of the clubs surveyed have insurance, most with the Seniors Outdoor Groups liability insurance through Fred Wong, 6535 Dalrymple Way NW, Calgary, AB T3A 1S1.
Issues of concern fell into the following categories:
Need for current information: new trail restrictions, and use of KC Conservation Pass funds.
AHA Advocacy: Crowding at popular destinations; AHA representation at provincial policy and planning processes; keeping tabs on government initiatives such as the coal policy; better management of KC use and facilities; lack of signage on trails in public lands; act as voice for total hiking community; managing conflicts on the landscape; hiking trail management and protecting wilderness area.
Education: Leadership training; risk management; hiking 101; wilderness first aid; bear safety; suggestions regarding individuals/organizations that can provide education to clubs; and central location (Website) to find emergency contact numbers and safety information.