by Morinville News Staff
The government announced Thursday it is partnering with Avalanche Canada on a new $750,000 funding agreement for avalanche safety and education.
The government says the agreement will ensure stable funding for Avalanche Canada, an organization the province says works to keep people safe as they ski, sled and snowshoe in the Alberta backcountry.
Avalanche Canada and the province provide daily avalanche forecasts, avalanche safety training, and focused outreach programs.
The province has funded Avalanche Canada for more than a decade.
The new funding will be spread to the non-profit over three years, with a quarter of a million contribution each year until 2020.
“More and more Albertans are heading into the backcountry each year,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office in a release on the funding. “Avalanche Canada has a proven track record of preventing tragedies while promoting the safe and respectful use of our beautiful mountain environment.”
The release indicates almost half of Canadian recreationists killed in avalanches in the past 10 years were Albertans, and two out of three snowmobilers killed in avalanches were from Alberta.
“Avalanches are a natural part of the winter mountain environment. They are also the deadliest natural hazard in Canada. By providing backcountry users with science-based and effective resources, we are working together to prevent tragedy,” said Gilles Valade, Executive Director of Avalanche Canada.
Each year in Canada, about 8,000 people take an avalanche training course taught by instructors licensed by Avalanche Canada.