I'm also a member of the Bow Valley Stewards, who's prime mandate is trail maintenance in Kananaskis Country.
The Stewards work for Parks under the direction of a Conservation Officer. We do all sorts of jobs, including pull plants that bears use for food that grow in campgrounds, close trails that are in places they shouldn't be, track collared bears, ask fishermen about their catch, and the like.
The Friends are a non-profit organization with reps from Parks on the board including a Conservation Officer. After a few years without much focus (including doing such tasks as manning the retail outlets in the Kananaskis Visitors Centers and managing the Memorial Bench program), now the Friends mostly build new trails, maintain existing trails, and close unwanted trails.
Sensing overlap? I do. Part of the reason I volunteered to serve as a Director is that I see the overlap and want to do something about it.
Despite the overlaps, there are gaps. Best example: current trail conditions.
Alberta Parks updates the current conditions of hiking trails weekly. You can see it here. But:
- Conditions change more often than weekly. A wicked day of bad weather or snow can change trail conditions fast.
- They don't report on very many trails. Some of my favourites are in the Spray Valley. Parks mention Chester and Burstall and that's it. There are gaps all over.
- They're wrong. A lot. They're warning this week about snow on Powderface and Jumpingpound summits. I was there today. There's no snow.