Early 80’s with the Calgary/Banff Section of the NPPAC

by Rosemary Nation

I was the president of the Calgary /Banff Chapter of the National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada (NPPAC) in the early 1980’s for a number of years. We ran the Chapter with no staff, and a very limited budget.  There are two events that I would like to share: Money was always an issue for us. Our chapter’s annual budget involved revenue of $5,000 to $10,000, from this we were dealing with all the issues that came out of the Mountain Parks, as well as Provincial Park issues.  In 1985, I got tired of all the time we spent raising money. I was aware of how much money groups could make from volunteering at the government controlled casinos run in Calgary. The charitable organization, after filling out paperwork, had to provide 30 or so volunteers over two days; to run chips, count money and cashier. The total profit from the casino belonged to the group. The down side was if the casino lost money, the expenses had to be covered. My vice chair, Harvey Locke (later to become National President) and the staff person in Toronto, Kevin McNamee were skeptical, but finally they agreed. I had to put my money where my mouth was, and sign a personal guarantee for $10,000, the amount the bank loaned to our chapter to run the casino.

The two days came, our Chapter members volunteered, and bless his heart, Dave Henry, our past National Chairman drove from Saskatchewan, stayed at our house, and volunteered tirelessly, fascinated with this chance to raise money. Bottom line, we ended up raising $29,000 in the two days. We were all over the moon. I know that amount to today’s organization may seem minimal; in those days it allowed us to take our focus from keeping the organization going financially, and spend our energies on advocacy. My second memory is being part of the national effort to save South Morseby.  A train went across Canada and picked up people at each city to attend a huge protest rally in Vancouver, demanding the government to take action to create a park.  Our local Chapter organized a rally in at the train station here in Calgary, 50 people or so came out and a number of us boarded the train to go to Vancouver and join the protest. At every station along the way to Vancouver, people came out to meet the train; at the end there were about 1,500 people who joined the march in Vancouver. We spent so many years and so much effort for that Park, we never really believed it when they announced the agreement to create it.