The province is working to improve access to snowmobile and off-highway vehicle trails by collaborating with recreational organizations.
The Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association and the Alberta Snowmobile Association each received $1 million in 2022-23 in provincial funding and will receive another $1 million each over the next three years as part of Budget 2023, for a total of $8 million.
As trail managers, the organizations are accountable for managing a number of provincially designated snowmobile and off-highway vehicle trails and coordinating the building and maintaining of trails with local clubs.
Trails managed by the trail managers must align with the approved land-use plans for the area and ensure environmental commitments are met.
“This new framework and funding helps increase both the capacity and support for our clubs working to improve the quality of trails, and mitigating impacts of recreation,” said president Garett Schmidt of the Alberta Off-Highway Vehicle Association, in a statement.
“We are very pleased to be working in collaboration and partnership with our government to ensure sustainable recreation and having Alberta’s Provincial OHV trail system develop into a world-class recognition and destination.”
Chris Brookes, executive director of the Alberta Snowmobile Association, said his organization has had plans in place for many years and are now able to start work on what will be the best snowmobile trails in Canada.
“Building a publicly accessible recreation system, connecting winter communities and driving winter tourism across rural Alberta are paths we are excited to travel down,” Brookes said.
NDP environment and parks critic Marlin Schmidt said the UCP has cut and underfunded Alberta’s trail system, so it is encouraging to see some funding for trails.
“However, families travelling to Kananaskis country this weekend still have to pay to access the area. It doesn’t make sense to fund trails across the province and then punish those using K-Country,” Schmidt said.
“The UCP must scrap the K-Country fee.”