The Kicksled Revolution is #YukonFamous!
Thank you to Gabrielle Dupont for a lovely recollection of my longwinded storytelling, Emily Sheff for the action photos, and What's Up Yukon for declaring 2017 Year of the Kicksled Revolution!
That's a bold proclamation and prediction that we hope comes to pass! But what exactly *is* the Kicksled Revolution? It's more than Anne hustling Finnish kicksleds out of a friend's garage downtown.
Yet even after talking about the Kicksled Revolution for seven years, the concept is still nebulous. I've used it as a metaphor or catch-all term for self sufficiency and community resilience, for low impact transportation, for smart design and good planning. It can represent a fundamental shift in our expectations of energy, our perception of time... a deep change in how we move and interact with each other and the land.
To sum up the Kicksled Revolution in my utopian fantasy: everyone has a kicksled (or three, for various purposes) - and uses it often to move themselves, their families and gear around. Trails (within and between communities) are groomed but not gritted. We drive less and interact with each other more. People, communities and the environment are healthier all across northern Canada because we burn less fossil fuels for transportation and are more active outdoors in winter. Some kicksleds are imported from Finland, and some are made locally with salvaged or sustainably harvested materials in a workers co-operative workshop.
This lovely dream will require more than media exposure, more than people trying out kicksledding, falling in love with how it feels and sharing the joy with their friends and family. It will require infrastructure and trail management changes to ensure connected no-grit trail networks to make kicksledding a more viable active commuting option in our communities.
I'm still wrapping my head around how to get kicksleds into remote communities - including Northwest Territories and Nunavut - in a cost effective way.
The locally made component will take planning and partnerships too. Yukonstruct? Activators? Government? A Development Corporation? I'm keen to see what comes out of the woodwork and happy to hear ideas about how to advance these growth strategies (biggering the Kicksled Revolution in a good way).
There is much work to be done, but if the last few months are an indication, many people are eager to help the revolution gain momentum!
Thank you to my friends, old and new, seasoned and newbie kicksledders, who have given me valuable advice and assistance, and shared in the pure joy. Join us!