July 27, 2020
Dear Birkie Skiers and Volunteers:
While it is the middle of summer, your Birkie board has been trying to devise a way for the 2021 event to go forward under provincial health regulations.
We will be sharing our ideas for a modified COVID-19 Canadian Birkie Ski Festival with you in the future, and feel it will be possible to put on a safe event for a set number of skiers.
But the reason for writing this letter now is that we need your support in our efforts to ensure Alberta Parks continues trail maintenance and ski tracking at the Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, a.k.a. Birkieland.
The Canadian Birkebeiner Society is entering negotiations with Alberta Parks shortly, with the aim of renewing our five year user agreement. However, with recent budget cuts it is not clear at this point that the current agreement will be continued. It is possible we will have to maintain the trails ourselves, which would be a very heavy burden for a small volunteer group and ultimately unsustainable.
The ski trails are used by the community of skiers to train for the Birkie, but also by many others to just get out and enjoy winter. It would be unfortunate if skiers and others were to totally lose the use of this great facility. It would be detrimental if Alberta Parks were unable to perform the grooming and trail work they have done so well for many years, in conjunction with our volunteers.
So please talk to your friends, write your government representatives, and check the box here, so that we can determine our community support when we sit down with Alberta Parks.