CANMORE – Rocky Mountain Adaptive (RMA) will provide year-round outdoor sport and recreation activities after receiving a $250,000 grant from Alberta.
For two years starting May 1, 2023, RMA, in partnership with Alberta Parks, will provide daily adaptive sports programming at William Watson Lodge in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country for those living with physical and cognitive disabilities.
The funding through the Civil Society Grant will also allow the Canmore-based charitable organization to pilot similar projects at other Alberta Parks locations.
"This funding is going to be able to greatly expand our programs and impact," said Jamie McCulloch, RMA executive director. "I would also like to personally thank MLA [Banff-Kananaskis] Miranda Rosin for her support of our application and championing our cause. We are proud and excited to deliver on making our mountain sport and recreation activities more inclusive and accessible.”
The announcement on Tuesday (Nov. 1) was a "long time coming," said Rosin, who recently was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism.
"I think for Albertans, and certainly in the Bow Valley, winter sports and summer sports recreation is a part of who we are," said Rosin.
"[RMA] really helped us see how important that identity is, but also helped us respect that everyone deserves an opportunity to partake in those activities and enjoy the backcountry and enjoy the mountains in our beautiful province in the same way those who are able-bodied could."
RMA offers a variety of winter and summer sports and activities such as skiing, paddling, biking, and hiking, among others, for youth and adults. RMA has also had athletes who have excelled with its programming and have competed at the Canada Winter Games in Para-Alpine races.
The $250,000 grant was secured last month before the premier leadership change, but its process started last winter. Rosin and Jason Luan, then Minister of Community and Social Services visited RMA on the Sunshine Village ski hill last February and tried out some of its adaptive skiing equipment.
"Myself and [Luan] loved all the work they were doing and saw the passion in them and wanted to partner with them," said Rosin.
"Not only did we ski, but we talked about the opportunity to expand RMA and their programming and bring it out of the [Bow Valley] and into some of the provincial parks to make sure our parks are accessible."
Rosin added one of the talking points was RMA's need for a permanent facility in the Bow Valley.
"There have been a lot of files on the go with them, but I'm very happy we got these funds just in time before the transition happened," said Rosin.