West Bragg Creek Trail Damage

On Sunday, April 1, a group of irresponsible equestrian riders rode out on the new trail, Braggin Rights, riding right past a trail sign requesting that equestrians avoid using the new All-Season trails until at least mid-summer. When asked to avoid the trails due to the damage, the riders displayed no remorse and carried on. These new multi-use summer trails were built in the West Bragg Creek area of Kananaskis Country in 2011. They are susceptible to premature wear and erosion and need time to compact and harden.

Equestrian damage to Braggin Rights trail

Equestrian damage to Braggin Rights trail

We need the cooperation of all trail users to ensure the development of a sustainable trail system.

All Users:  Please do not use new trails when they are soft and wet.

Equestrian Users:  Severe damage from horses has already impacted some of the trails.  New trails are not yet firm enough for equestrian use. Excessive damage can occur even in dry weather. Trails may be open to equestrian use by mid-summer 2012. Please use existing ski trails until further notice.

These trails are being built through private and public donations, and the contributions of thousands of hours of volunteer services.

These horse riders are obviously a small minority of riders who do not care about the effort that volunteers have put into developing these trails. Unfortunately, their actions impact all users. If this type of disrespect for the trails continue, equestrian use may be further restricted on these trails.

Also note that due to environmental sensitivity, Snowshoe Hare loop is closed annually from April 1 to Nov 30.

Please respect the trails and the efforts of others.

Bruce Barker – GBCTA Vice-President

11 comments… add one
  • russell martin May 8, 2013, 4:16 am

    I’m a LNT Master Trainer for Stock Use. I would like to have this picture for my LNT training. This is the type of message we are trying to get out to all equestrians. If possible can you e-mail me just the picture so I can print it off. If not I understand.

    Thank You,
    Russell Martin

  • Donald Mar 18, 2013, 3:01 pm

    I certainly agree that the West Bragg MTB trails are not good hiking trails , however there are plenty of hiking trails that are also great for riding and because I do both I am very selfish when I am riding and run into hikers and of course hiking when I run into riders . Now when i plan my day in the mountains i always choose the trails suitable for the activity , which is something i never used to , say before 2008 , i now restrict my hiking to steep trails so i don’t have to worry about bikers . As for mountain bikeing ruining the trails my direct experience is that when the trails are steep and being ridden by the agressive rider on the dedicated “downhill bike” then yes the trails get pounded/grooved/eroded; i point out the Coxhill trail as just one example , i was riding that sucker in the early 90’s and the wimpy bikes just didn’t allow for too much speed/hard braking etc but since about 2007 this all changed . On the more moderate trails i don’t see the damage except from horses partucularly when the trails are wet and soggy , horse hooves just tear it up .

  • Tony Daffern Mar 12, 2013, 4:53 pm

    While there are a few good hiking trails out of West Bragg, most of the new trails are designed for mountain biking. Bikers have virtually taken over the trails in the Elbow/West Bragg area from Moos Mountain road east. While multi-use trails are great in theory, they are not so good in practice. Mixing hiker, bikers and equestrians on trails with sharp, steep corners and minimal sight lines is a safety issue for all users. Also, biking trails are designed differently from hiking trails: banked corners, long easy climbs and some very steep downhills.

  • Geoff Mar 12, 2013, 12:07 pm

    I have hiked and skied K-country and WBC for over 30 years. WBC is grazing lease land and I see a lot more manure from cattle and trail damage from the same. How do the ranchers check their stock thru the grazing season?, likely not on quads or mountain bikes. I haved noticed mountain bikers damage the trails by riding around wet areas making the damaged area larger and larger whereas people on horse back ride thru puddles. This is a reason why so many trails in the National Parks ban cycling. Maybe cycling and horse back riding should both be banned?

  • Bernbaby Apr 16, 2012, 5:08 pm

    It is not enough to apologize, as much as it is appreciated. You and your family need to go there and do some trail maintenance, and if you do not already volunteer with the trail systems, at the very least you and your family owe a few years of time.

  • Jake Apr 11, 2012, 11:32 am

    Mea Culpa. It was me. I led my family and friends on that ride.
    I apologize.
    Somehow, despite a visit to the trailheads two weeks prior, careful reading of the signs at that time, visits to the Bragg Creek Trails website and downloading of the maps, recognition of the closures of trails under construction and the exclusion of horses on certain trails such as Fullerton and links to it …. I did not see any message or notice asking horse riders to stay off the new trails until mid-summer.
    Perhaps it was our enthusiasm and excitement about the new trails, perhaps it was the anticipation of the April 1 trails openings, perhaps it was just great weather and spring conditions but – I missed it.
    And, no one spoke to me or brought it to my attention on that day.
    Now we know, we will certainly avoid the new construction, and we’ll share this info with other riders that we are in contact with.
    The trails we rode on the 1st were mostly covered in deep snow, with a few bare spots and a few icy patches. We did encounter a number of trees across the trails, and we cut and removed the ones that most blocked passage or presented a hazard to trail users.
    Some of the ‘new’ trails actually use old logging roads, siesmic cuts or horse trails that we have ridden on over the past decade or more. We’ll stick to the ski trails and the old trails for now when we visit WBC.

  • Bernbaby Apr 8, 2012, 7:49 pm

    Horses rip up the trails everywhere, they are no better than ATV’s when it comes to damage. There is no such thing as a multi use trail where a very heavy horse is concerned.

  • Rachel Apr 4, 2012, 10:57 am

    I’m also with Scott on the manure. I hate walking through a chewed-up muddy horse trail, but covered in feces is even worse. If I have to poop, it is expected that I will bury it off the trail. If my dog needs to poop, it is generally expected that I pack it out, or at least bury it off the trail just like human excrement. Why is it acceptable to not remove your horse’s poop? I think manure should be picked up and buried off the trail just like anyone else’s.
    I have no problem with horses in the wilderness, and they are a huge part of Rocky Mountain history. but I would really like to see some more consideration on intentional multi-use trails. Or let’s stop with the multi-use trails that end up belonging only to one group.

  • Rachel Apr 4, 2012, 10:53 am

    That’s really unfortunate.
    Multi-use with horses is a joke. It just becomes a horse trail that others are permitted to walk on. There’s just no motivation for riders to care about the condition of what their feet never touch.

  • Alf Skrastins Apr 3, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Those vehicles look like they belong to Eagle Feather Riding Ltd., (NOT SO – see Jake below) an equestrian outfitter licensed to run trail rides in Kananaskis Country. If this is correct, then a formal complaint should be made to Kananaskis Country .
    I also suggest that the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association request that the terms of the equestrian business licensing for the newly constructed trails be adjusted to only permit commercial trail rides after the new trails have “hardened up” and only when the trails are dry.

  • Scott Apr 2, 2012, 8:56 pm

    I am not sure that I agree with the comment that this represents a “small minority of riders”…

    I have never seen this group involved in trail maintenance.

    It’s a group that feels that it is their right to deposit manure on the trails for everyone else to walk through or around.

    Has anyone ever seen an equestrian user dismount to let someone else pass? Me, I have never seen this happen.

    I have never seen bikers or hikers smoking on the trails…seen that with people on horse back though.

    I think this is a group that best belongs in Maclean Creek.

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