On July 14th, the Alberta Hiking Association was invited to meet with Minister Phillips in an informal meet-and-greet session in Calgary. In attendance as well were representatives of 20 other non-motorized organizations hiking clubs, canoeists and equestrians. It was an excellent opportunity to discuss directly with the Minister issues surrounding challenges and opportunities our recreation sector faces as well as issues around trail maintenance. To expedite discussion around these issues, Phillips held a Q & A. It was John Holmes who asked the first question. As Treasurer of the AHA, Holmes was interested in learning about government plans for the Bighorn Backcountry. The Minister responded by saying that her department was working through a number of issues, one being with the leaseholders in the area; her department wants to ensure that whatever plans are finally adopted will be fair.
Other points that were raised during the session dealt with new trail building initiatives and volunteers helping in this and other endeavors. Holmes offered the AHA as the vehicle by which government could access those interested in volunteering. It would appear that all in attendance were impressed with Phillips grasp of the issues surrounding non-motorized recreation and with her forthright and non-evasive answers.