Glenbow Ranch Parks Foundation (GRPF) is urging everyone who loves the provincial park to consider buying a membership to support the organization’s continued success.
According to Sarah Parker, GRPF executive director, the membership drive, which will conclude at the end of the month, began in November 2019.
“We just remind current members to renew their memberships, and we hope to get new members to buy memberships, as well,” she said.
GRPF does not receive operational funding from Alberta Parks, Parker said, meaning everything the foundation does is supported by membership fees, along with individual donations and the small amount of revenue generated from its programs.
This can make it challenging to offer programs throughout the year, she said, and makes memberships that much more vital. That need, Parker said, is illustrated through by the suspension of its Park Talks program, which she hopes will be temporary.
“Like any non-profit, we are always struggling to ‘keep the lights on,’” she said.
Annual memberships cost $35 for individuals or $50 for families, and provide several benefits. According to Parker, members receive a 15 per cent discount on all GRPF programming, subscription to an e-newsletter and perks from GRPF’s Park Partners.
“At particular businesses in Cochrane and Calgary, if they show their membership card, they receive some sort of perk,” Parker said. Participating businesses include MacKay’s Ice Cream, Tool Shed Brewing Company, Ski Cellar, Mountain Equipment Co-op and many more.
Memberships can be purchased at the park’s visitor centre or online at grpf.ca by clicking on “How You Can Help.” While the foundation is pushing for memberships right now, they can be purchased year-round.
This time of the year is typically when the bulk of memberships are purchased, Parker said, with usually between 100 and 125 being sold, generating $5,000 of revenue.
“We would always love to sell more, obviously,” she said. “In an ideal world, everyone who came to the park and fell in love with it would buy a membership.”
Parker anticipates many memberships will be sold Jan. 25 and 26, when the membership drive takes over the lobby of Spray Lakes Sawmill Family Sports Centre in Cochrane.
“They loved the idea of supporting another recreational opportunity for people in the Cochrane area,” she said. “They kind of gave us prime time. They’ve got incredible sporting events and tournaments there that weekend, so hopefully we’ll get a lot of traffic.”
While at the rec centre, Parker said, people will have an opportunity to learn more about the park and purchase memberships. Anyone who purchases a membership will be entered into a draw to win one of two pairs of tickets for a tour of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, though Parker noted purchasing a membership is not required to enter the draw. The draw will occur at the beginning of February.
“[Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park] provides so many wonderful things to people,” Parker said. “Buying a membership is a way of giving thanks to that, honestly – of giving thanks to that opportunity that’s been created for Albertans. That, to me, is the number one reason to buy a membership, to just show your love of the park and show your love of what our foundation does for the park.”