Perceived risk is an important part of adventure tourism and part of the appeal for visitors to our region. Being in a remote region increases the actual risks however and finding an acceptable balance can be challenging.
There are two parts to the safety discussions: risk management (aka prevention) and emergency response. While we can advocate for the latter, most of what we can do as tourism businesses is focused on mitigating risks to reduce the need for emergency responses.
The first thing we can do is amplify the risk management expertise of our local guides and organizations. They have years of experience and training in this field along with in-depth knowledge of the local areas.
We can also play an important role in helping visitors make informed decisions by providing activity guides and sharing information on how to reduce risks through planning and the proper use of equipment. We need to lead by example on this by ensuring that the information we share and how we engage with social media content promotes responsible experiences. We do need to accept that anything we do in this regard will be imperfect since the level of acceptable risk is something subjective based on an individual’s skills, experience, knowledge and preparedness.
At the business level, we will be developing a communication plan as part of our response to emergencies within the region. This is particularly applicable to localized situations like the Black Mountain Fire where the public perception of the situation leads to an impact on the entire region. This discussion needs to include a number of organizations to ensure that our plans complement those of the emergency response agencies.
In other areas, our efforts are best spent advocating for the services needed and supporting projects lead by other organizations. This includes FireSmart projects being considered by the Nordegg Community Association and the advocacy work being done by Rocky SAR.
We face a similar challenge to other mountain destinations where our local population is small but the number of people in the region is much higher. We need to continue to advocate for increased enforcement activities to account for this increased visitation, including additional local presence by Conservation Officers, Fish and Wildlife Officers, RCMP Officers and Community Peace Officers.
A few resources on prevention and emergency response:
- Rocky Mountain House Volunteer Search and Rescue (Rocky SAR)
- The Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA)
- FireSmart Canada
- Clearwater County Emergency Management
Projects & Updates
A few of updates and resources on the challenges we face as a growing destination.