Neills Kristensen resigned as executive director of the Friends of Mt. Revelstoke & Glacier after more than five years struggling to keep the organization afloat.
The Times Review received a report Wednesday morning of his resignation, which Kristensen confirmed.
When contacted this morning, he declined to go into reasons for his resignation, saying the Friends were preparing a news release. Later, he posted on Facebook that he was moving to Vancouver. “I have enjoyed my time in the area and making great friends in the community,” he wrote. “I will miss you all.”
The Friends, which turned 25 this year, have been struggling in recent years and Kristensen had his hours reduced significantly earlier this year.
Recent years have been a mixture of struggles and successes. The Friends gift shop in Rogers Pass was closed down for two years due to renovations to the Rogers Pass Centre and a flood in the Parks Canada building in 2011 destroyed much of the organization’s inventory. The Friends has also had to dig itself out of a deep financial hole in recent years.
At the same time, the Friends opened the Balsam Lake bookstore in Mt. Revelstoke National Park, launched the Mountain Roots Film Festival, and helped co-ordinate other community events and activities. The Friends also moved into a new storefront and office on First Street East at the start of this year.
In a January interview with the Times Review, Kristensen likened the Friends 25th anniversary to a marriage – if you’ve made it that far, you’re probably going to survive. “The organization itself has become very strong. We’re growing and the community is starting to figure out who the Friends are,” he said at the time. “I really hope the organization will grow with more volunteer opportunities and more opportunities for youth to get involved.”
Kristensen was a recent recipient of the Spirit of Revelstoke award for his volunteer work.
Travis Hunt, the president of Friends, did not immediately return a call for comment.