Parking fees to pay for K-Country trail grooming

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The Alberta government will continue to groom cross-country ski trails in Kananaskis Country by charging users to park at access points, under a plan announced Friday.

A one-year trial with Nordiq Alberta will require skiers to pay $10 a day or $50 for the season to use trailhead lots at Peter Lougheed, Spray Valley and Sheep River provincial parks and the Evan-Thomas recreation area. Grooming work is expected to begin by Dec. 1.

The province said earlier this year it would cease grooming ski trails in areas of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Mount Shark and Kananaskis Village, citing costs.

Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin said the plan announced Friday will keep recreation areas in Kananaskis open without putting the costs on taxpayers. No cost or revenue target for maintaining the trails was provided.

NDP environment critic Marlin Schmidt said charging fees to access ski trails in K-Country will “make it more expensive and difficult for Albertans to enjoy the province’s natural beauty.”

“It is insulting to Peter Lougheed’s legacy of protecting provincial parks and making them accessible to Albertans for the UCP to first introduce user fees in the park named after him,” Schmidt said in a statement.

Passes are required for each vehicle and can be purchased at some retail outlets and online at kananaskisgrooming.ca.

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