Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Park's winter service cuts cause concern

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Residents near Riding Mountain National Park are upset with the government's decision to eliminate some winter services at the park.

Local cross-country skiers and business owners voiced concerns over the federal government's decision to cut cross-country trail grooming at Riding Mountain National Park at a meeting Wednesday in Onanole.

Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette MP Robert Sopuck hosted the meeting and said he would pass on the group's concerns to the environment minister. But he was also steadfast in his support for the cuts the government implemented with the advice of Parks Canada.

Sopuck believes there is an excellent opportunity to take over the service through the use of volunteers. "Parks Canada equipment will be made available to volunteers,"àSopuck said.

Celes Davar, president of tourist company Earth Rhythms, believes it's unfair to ask a volunteer base to take over a service that requires a set of unique skills. "To off-load a government service onto volunteers presents a number of problems," Davar said.

Davar is concerned about the message that reducing services sends to tourists who come to the park for a winter experience. "The message is that the park is closed in the winter time,"àDavar said.

 

-- Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 10, 2012 B4

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