By Nancy Ouimet, Executive Director and Wendy Heidebrecht Jossa & Ed Engstrom, Co-Chairs
It has become our tradition at this time of year to take a moment to thank the people who make our Friends of Kananaskis family work. Thank you, to the members of our team, board, partners, volunteers, and donors who have graced us with partnership, insight, energy and support.
When it comes to people to thank, we start with the staff of Alberta Forestry, Parks and Tourism (AFPT). The Friends operate in partnership with Parks: providing volunteer labour, advice, and collaborative assistance. A big thank you to Michael Roycroft, Director of Kananaskis Country Region for his ongoing support of the Friends, Debbie Mucha, West Kananaskis Area Manager, for her help on various initiatives we have presented, Andrew Schoepf, East Kananaskis Area Manager, and Trevor Poth/Alaric Fish, Area Manager, Specialized Facilities & Trails, Kananaskis Region, for their support with our work at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park.
Helping oversee our partnership with Public Land, we thank Brad Jones, Recreation, Education and Partnerships Manager, and Jeff Wright, Recreation Management Specialist, for their leadership in creating trail stewardship opportunities in the Kananaskis Country and Sibbald Public Land Use Zone.
We thank the people we probably spend the most time working with, the trails staff: James Cieslak, Trails and Wayfinding Lead, Alex Mueller, Bow Valley Trails Supervisor, Jody Cairns, PLPP Trails Supervisor, Kyle Jacobson, Elbow District Trails Supervisor, Chris Andersen, Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park Trails Specialist, and Matteo Calloni, Recreation, Education and Partnerships Field Supervisor. Each one of these folks have amazing, hardworking trail crews, whom we also thank. Thanks to all of those folks who keep Kananaskis trails fabulous.
Our Interpretive Trail Signage program wouldn’t be possible without the help from Interpretation & Public Education Coordinators Julie Ryan and Tangle McClaron who gracefully craft educational messaging that enhance visitor knowledge and experience. We also draw on expertise from Parks’ Ecology staff, including John Paczkowski and Sandra Code (their Ecology team are the on-going supplier of awesome wildlife camera images you see each month in the newsletter), and Scott Jevons. Scott is the AEP GIS Specialist, and has helped us with numerous maps.
We have had the privilege to have Jody Cairns from Parks serve on our Board this past year. Jody has brought us insight, wisdom and assistance; our Board was better for their presence.
There are numerous other full time and seasonal AFPT staff who have helped us too. We give thanks to all of these hard working folks, every one of whom help keep our Kananaskis wonderful.
When it comes to energetic folks to thank, that includes you!
Our volunteer Crew Leaders put in extra hours towards first aid certification and participating in our annual Crew Leader Training, and help ensure we deliver trail days that are well organized, safe, productive and fun. Thanks to our 2022 Crew Leaders
Derek Ryder * Don Cockerton * Ghulam Jamro * Jeff Gruttz * Tim Giese * Karl Bauer * Tim Johnson * Nolan Rempel * John Kerkhoven * Ian Harker * Greg Thompson * Dwayne Brown * Eric Trouillot * Ken Davies * Stephen Hanus
Then we have the folks who do the work. THANK YOU to the 249 volunteers who filled 563 shifts and dedicated over 2,733 hours helping us build and maintain trails and cleaning up Highway 40.
Our 1,500+ members make our organization thrive and push us to continuously do our best. Every one of you deserves our unending thanks.
We have to thank our incredible supporters and donors:
Calgary Foundation has become one of our most significant supporters. They have provided funding to assist in interpretive trail work, support for our trail stewardship program and new strategic plan, and implementing of the Human Use Management project in partnership with the Town of Canmore and Kananaskis.
Alberta Government – for supporting our Trail Stewardship program.
SkiUphill RunUphill for supporting our Trail Stewardship program.
Banff Canmore Community Foundation for supporting our Trail Stewardship program
The Dr. Janice L. Pasieka Foundation
The DWCR Family Fund at the Calgary Foundation
The Bergen Foundation
There are numerous Organizations, Clubs and Businesses who support us, including; Lumina Consulting Ltd, Bow Valley Canyon Tour, Suncor Energy, Pillar Capital Corp, Kananaskis Improvement District, Edmonton Community Foundation, Patagonia Elements Inc, Alberta TrailNet, Rundle Mountain Cycling Club, Spin Sisters, Second Sixties Outdoor Club, Calgary Weekend Hikers Club, Seniors’ Outdoor Club of Calgary, West Winds Senior Hiking & Outdoor Club, Kananaskis Lakes Association, Enbridge, Valhalla Pure Outfitters, McElhanney, Evergreen Senior Outdoor Club, Calgary Ski Club, Trail Sports, An Edible Life, MnM Outdoor Club, Rebound Cycle, Active Edge Chiropractic, Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre, along with several other great supporters – thanks for your generosity!
There’s a long list of individuals who provided us with donations – your ongoing support is always valued and appreciated – THANK YOU.
As the Board, we would like to say a special thanks, to our Executive Director, Nancy Ouimet, for her smiling face and boundless energy! The Board is very proud of the work she has done, the bridges she has built, and the relationships she maintains with all our partners. This year Nancy led an expanded reach on the trails with the addition of e-bikes, our backcountry program, and work in the Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park. Thanks Nancy, your enthusiasm and energy are amazing to work with!
Also contributing to the organizations success, Tim Johnson, Program Coordinator, is instrumental in working with our partners and the hundreds of volunteers and members, to deliver our programs and the many projects and communications that help us achieve our mandate. We had the pleasure to have Bruce Gleig, Trail Care Supervisor, join our team. Bruce’s passion for working on trails and good humour with the volunteers made ever trail day a good day. Thanks for your hard work and for adding lots of TLC to trails throughout Kananaskis.
Our finances are kept in good order thanks to Michael Sovereign (with Sovereign Cloud Accounting), thanks for your efforts to improve our financial management.
Hiding quietly behind the scenes, Karen Irvine provides valuable proofreading of our monthly newsletters. And thank you Derek Ryder for your help in writing the newsletters, including supplying all the beautiful photos of K-Country.
We thank the members of the Friends Advisory Council: Don Cockerton, Alf Skrastin, Gillean Daffern, Tony Daffern, Manika Suri, and Jamie McPhail. Each has a long-standing commitment to support the Friends, and provides deep knowledge of the importance of trails to K-Country visitors. We are thankful for access to their time, and their kind and prompt wisdom.
We want to thank all the members of the Board of Directors of the Friends of Kananaskis – 2022 serving Board members Derek Ryder, Kevin Jones, David Schultz, Kevin Smith, Dave Nielson, Peter Irwin, Kimberly Haddow, Janice Pasieka, Amanda Kelly, and Kayla Simpson. Our Board members put in many hours to make sure things run smoothly, and they each deserve a big thank you.
Finally, a special thanks to our Co-Chairs, Wendy Heidebrecht Jossa and Ed Engstrom. Wendy and Ed ensure the Board is running smoothly and help advance our mission. Thanks for your leadership Wendy and Ed!