Waterton fires and Alpine Stables

As you know, the last several years, our rides have been in Waterton Lakes National Park with our outfitter, Alpine Stables.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that there is a fire in Waterton, both in the park and the town that is still burning out of control. Type “Kenow fire” into Google and you can read the news. One of the casualties has been the buildings and facilities of Alpine Stables which burned to the ground last week.

Many people have asked about this (don’t worry, everyone is safe) and what action we plan to take. At this point, we don’t even know the overall extent of the damage. Parks lost much of its infrastructure and we don’t know if our camp has survived. At this point, we need to let the emergency teams do their job and respect the mandatory evacuation orders.

Two of our members, Jim & Melissa Bradbury, have started a Go Fund Me account to help out Dee and the Alpine Stable family. They have asked us to pass along this link … https://www.gofundme.com/waterton-alpine-stables-family

We’ll keep you posted of further developments.

Board Meeting August 30

At the first board meeting after the summer’s rides, we always start with a recap.

Our summer concluded with 69 paid riders (the same as we budgeted at the start of the year), a 77% increase over the previous year of 39 paid riders. Last year we had a deficit of about $3,500. This year we expected a surplus of around $11,000 but the board decided to invest some of that money into new cots, new dining tables, an experimental biffie system, and other camp improvements. They also decided to invest in attending the Canada West Marketplace trade show in Victoria in November to promote our organization. This brings our projected surplus to about $5,000 for 2017.

The surveys from the riders were positive and it was a successful summer.

The board decided to investigate upgrading the camp experience next year with new chairs (the old ones are falling apart), better wash facilities including private men/women wash tents, two new 4-man tents, a small generator, and more bio-degradable biffies (the prototype worked quite well).

There will be a letter coming out about the future of the Trail Riders. Expect to receive it by email and in this blog soon.

The 2018 marketing plans were discussed and the budget decision was deferred to the next meeting. The board wished to see the $8,700 budget in the context of the overall operational budget for 2018. A draft of this will be prepared for the next board meeting.

Our website is being “re-patriated” to Canada from the USA. A new designer will be working on an overhaul in the coming weeks.

We will be attending the annual Canadian West Market Place trade show, this year in Victoria in November, to meet with tour operators to “sell the Trail Riders”. We are focusing on operators that match our organizations goals and can provide value-added marketing.

Our sister organization the Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies has policies for member respectful behaviour. They also have a cancellation policy for cancelled camps (e.g. in the event of a forest fire). With their permission, we are adapting those policies for the Trail Riders and will be presenting them at our next board meeting.

Our location and dates for 2018 are tentative (see our website for details). More on that latter.

In conclusion, we had a successful summer in terms of operations. The Trail Riders are “out of the doldrums” from the past several years and building momentum. We need to be have full rides in 2018 in order to continue to build and improve our operation and continue our 94 year old legacy.