Support Trails

September 4, 2020

Dear Birkie Skiers and Volunteers:

We are overjoyed that more than 1,500 of you took the time to respond to our August letter asking for support for the continuation of Alberta Parks’ critical role in trail maintenance and Birkie event staffing at the Cooking Lake Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area.

Next we need you to contact your Alberta Member of the Legislative Assembly, the Minister of Alberta Parks and the Alberta Premier. In doing so, you will be joining the Canadian Birkebeiner Society and the many other skiers in Alberta who are also petitioning the government for continued support in their areas. The Birkie board is doing what it can, including advising the government of the incredible response to our survey, but your continued help is appreciated.

A suggested paragraph follows, but please write whatever you please, and make it personal where you can. Only by showing massive support across the province will skiers have any chance of changing the direction Alberta Parks seems intent on pursuing. We have also attached a link to the provincial website for Alberta Members of the Legislative Assembly email addresses.

Thank you for your help.

Dave Cooper, President, Canadian Birkebeiner Society

Suggested Trail Support text: As a cross country skier (or Birkie volunteer), I ask that Alberta Parks continue to provide trail maintenance, ski grooming, and event support for the Birkie at the Cooking Lake Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area. Outdoor recreation is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and something that is in the best interest of government to encourage.

Example of a Trail Support Letter: Birkie Board Member Mike Dickinson’s trail support email click here.

Contact e-mails:
Alberta Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA): Click here to find your MLA
Minister of Alberta Parks:
Premier of Alberta:


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.

Thank you.        

Dave Cooper, President, Canadian Birkebeiner Society