Several popular hiking and climbing areas in Kananaskis will be closed this year as the province spends $4 million on upgrades, Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon announced Friday.
The Grassi Lakes and Goat Creek day-use areas will be under construction beginning in early April.
“We are updating trails, parking lots and other area facilities to address public safety issues and park congestion while improving the visitor experience,” Nixon said.
In 2020, Kananaskis had approximately 5.4 million visitors, more than Banff. Family hikes in the Grassi Lakes area make it one of the most visited places in K-Country.
“These are very popular places, which is why they need this level of renovation,” Nixon said.
This is also why it is planned that the construction will be done in one season, so that the areas can reopen next year. In the meantime, visitors who usually frequent these places will have to head elsewhere.
“There will be an education component that Kananaskis officials are focusing on,” Nixon said. “Making sure we can direct people to new alternatives inside Kananaskis that they may not have experienced yet.”
As of April 1, the following trails and climbing areas will be closed:
- Grassi Lakes Trail.
- Scrapyard trail.
- Ha Ling trail.
- Miner’s Peak Trail.
- Goat Creek Trail.
- Rundle east end road.
- Recovery mountain bike trail.
- Cavaliers du Rohan mountain bike trail.
- Access to the High Rockies trail from Goat Creek.
- Ha Ling climbing area.
- East End of Rundle climbing area.
- Grassi lakes climbing area.
New bus line in Canmore, fleet expansion
In addition to these changes, the province is spending $994,000 from funds raised through the Kananaskis Conservation Pass to start a shuttle bus from the town of Canmore to Quarry Lake Park, which has paid parking, the Nordic Center of Canmore and day use of Grassi Lakes. region.
“We know there is no practical way to build adequate parking to accommodate the volume of visitors who enjoy accessing these special sites,” Canmore Coun said. Joanna McCallum.
The bus, which will be another route of Canmore’s free local transit system, is expected to launch in 2024 and operate for three years, offering hourly long weekend service from May through mid-September.
“If this proves successful, it becomes a model for potential transit solutions and options for the entire Kananaskis Country in the future,” said Michael Roycroft, who works for Alberta Parks.
The province is also expanding Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park by 246 hectares (610 acres). The area is a corridor for elk, deer, coyotes, cougars, black bears and grizzly bears.
Nixon said the expansion will not impact existing recreational access to the area or traditional Indigenous use, including hunting.