Yesterday the Government of Alberta announced $1 million for trails and recreation improvements in David Thompson Country. While the Alberta Hiking Association has long called for more resources to support recreation uses and mitigate impacts created by all users, the majority (three quarters) of the new funds appear to be directed for primarily motorized users.
Alberta Hiking Association is a member of the Bighorn Backcountry Standing Committee, a group of recreational users that provides advice to the Government of Alberta on management of the Bighorn Backcountry where these investments were made. Unfortunately the Bighorn Backcountry Standing Committee was not consulted on what the priorities for trail investments should be.
We welcome the improvements to hiking trails at Fish Lake PRA and investments to improve and mitigate damage in random camping areas. Alberta Hiking Association remains concerned that Provincial Recreation Areas and amenities for hikers including campsites, outhouses, garbage receptacles continue to appear to be slated for delisting or closure under the auspices of cost constraints, while new investments are made in motorized trails. A full inventory of recreation infrastructure needs is necessary to inform decison-making.
Hiking represents the largest single recreational use of parks and public lands in Alberta and the Alberta Hiking Association continues to reach out to the Government of Alberta to encourage them to engage with us and consider our users in land use decision-making and funding priorities for parks and public lands in Alberta.