Alberta hikers want more parks and protected areas, not fewer, according to a survey of 727 hikers conducted for the Alberta Hiking Association (AHA). They also want more trails, better trail maintenance, and more designated trails to separate motorized and non-motorized users.
The survey, conducted in March and April of this year, also indicated that many hikers are willing to pay a fee if the money went to trail infrastructure. Other findings show that economic activity generated by hiking contributes more than a billion dollars to Alberta’s economy.
AHA Chair Murray Fierheller said, “Albertans’ mental and physical health, and Alberta’s economy, are at risk of being damaged if current trends to reduce parks and protected areas, and to allow ATVs on more trails and in campgrounds, are not reversed.” Hikers said that their main purpose in hiking was to enjoy a natural environment, followed closely by exercise. Many also commented that they hiked for their mental and spiritual health.
The full report is available (below) on the AHA website, https://abhiking.ca.
The Alberta Hiking Association is primarily an umbrella organization for hiking clubs from across the province. AHA is a registered non-profit society, whose main objective is to act as an advocate at provincial and regional levels for walking, hiking, and snowshoeing interests. Hikers represent the largest recreational user group on public lands in Alberta with an estimated 1.3 million Albertans who hike and the AHA was not consulted on proposed reductions in provincial parks and recreation areas.
Click to Open Alberta Hikers Survey 2020: