February’s K Country Trail Users Group Meeting

The budget of the day before affected a few issues — funding for parks has been cut in half. Strangely, funding for tourism has been increased. (There were mutterings of never mind the tourists, let’s  do more for Albertans.)

So grooming and tracksetting at Ribbon Creek next season is again likely to be sporadic. PLPP and Mt. Shark will continue to be the two areas concentrated upon. We will be trying to get half of the Sawmill parking lot plowed next winter. This winter there have been definite safety issues from parking by the side of the highway for both people and the moose. We suggested that next year they not plow the access road to Black Prince and wait for the outcry from the telemarkers!  X-C skiers and snowshoers are not known for making a fuss, but all of you out there REALLY REALLY need to make your feelings known to K Country and Alberta Transportation on this issue. PLEASE DO IT! As an aside, the Sawmill biffy was supposed to be locked but was left open in error. Thank goodness!  Don’t you just hate going off into the bush?

Also affected by the budget  is next year’s summer trail work. It will not be known for some time what trails, if any, will be worked on. Don’t expect any good news there. On the subject of trails, some seniors clubs have been hoping to get permission to clear away the big deadfall from the fire road leading to historic Upper Kananaskis Viewpoint. Citing wildlife  concerns, the K Country environmentalists seem set on vetoing the idea.

As you know the hours at the information centres have been chopped, and it was suggested that, while keeping to the same number of hours, they open an hour earlier to catch the majority of Albertans heading out to the mountains.

Kiosks are undergoing improvements and  with support from the various conservation officers should better reflect the trails the trailhead serves.

The Chester Lake trails received a lot of  discussion. Just why are so many snowshoers not following the  snowshoe trail?  On six different occasions, Alf Skrastins held an informal survey and you may be interested in the findings — see  Alf’s forthcoming blog.

Share
5 comments… add one
  • Gillean Daffern Jun 1, 2010, 3:53 pm

    A new terms of reference for TUG will be out in early fall, so will let you know then what transpires.

  • Gillean Daffern Mar 21, 2010, 12:27 pm

    Hi everyone,
    Just a few bare facts: The KCTUAG started when representatives of ski clubs were invited to partake in discussions re paying or not to ski on trails such as those in Peter Lougheed PP. The group has expanded a little since then to include representatives from other outdoor clubs and associations and to discuss issues relating to summer use. What is the criteria nowadays? I believe you still have to represent a club or association of some kind. I have put a query out to K Country management on this issue, but have not yet heard back from them.

    The TUAG is an advisory group only — a sort of go-between between the public and K Country.
    We have little victories, such as putting more coat hangers up in Pocaterra Hut, and major failures, such as not being able to keep the trailhead at Volcano Ridge open during the closure of the Gorge Creek Road. It is in no way a secret society as Derek suggested; on the contrary, we try to disseminate information to the hiking and skiing public through the clubs, associations and through this blog site. So if you have suggestions, grievances or kudos you can either contact me or a club representative and we will raise the issue at the next meeting. Or you can also contact K Country itself: Steve.Donelon@gov.ab.ca

    Re trail maintenance: The Friends of Kananaskis organizes volunteer trail crews. Contact them at trails@kananaskis.org. Usually, they work on interpretive trails and new trails. K Country allows people to go in and prune branches and shrubs. No problem there. But it the work involves using a chainsaw, then you have to email Bill at Bill.Johnston@gov.ab.ca who will put the trail on his to-do list. It’s a liability issue. Of course, this is for designated trails only. On undesignated trails, be they hiking, biking or equestrian, the clearing often gets done anonymously.

  • Michelle Feb 20, 2010, 11:53 pm

    I would also love to see meetings times and locations posted in advance on this website, or a link to the user group’s website. This web site has been a hugely valuable source of information, and the more I read, the more I want to get involved!

    As for Chester Lake, I actually prefer the snowshoe trail (despite that mammoth uphill trek!). Others have told me they’ve been unable to find the turnoff in years past, but I have found the snowshoeing signage throughout PLPP to be much improved this year.

  • Steve Riggs Feb 17, 2010, 9:51 pm

    From the previous comment by Derek-
    “I’m curious: the same way there’s an “Adopt a Highway” program, is there an “Adopt a Trail” program? I would happily participate some manual labour a copule of times a year to help clear a trail or two, but don’t know who does this. In the last 2 years I have been up to my neck in grass on the overgrown Eagle Hill trail, clambered over huge amounts of deadfall on the Tent Ridge access, and arrived at numerous “vistas” that have been so overgrown as to be “not vistas”. This strikes me as an ideal project for KTUG to coordinate.”

    I would say- just do it.
    Myself, and others I know, usually carry a small folding saw, and often hand pruners, when hiking. These are enough to quickly remove smaller blowdowns and keep encroaching shrubbery at bay.
    As my fellow mountain bikers have learned, the quickest and often best solution to trail maintenance is “DIY”.
    I have personally adopted Moosepackers trail and have cleared the trail of winter blowdowns for the last several years, simply by using a good sharp bowsaw. It, and Tent Ridge as well, are not official trails anyway and would not likely ever see parks trail crews anyway . Tent Ridge trail would really need some “two stroke smoke”, due to the size and extent of the fallen timber.
    As for the official trails, be sure to let the appropriate parks personnel know of trail issues as sometimes they may not even be aware of current conditions. It does work.

  • Derek Ryder Feb 12, 2010, 1:23 pm

    I have tried for some time to attend the KTUG meetings, but so far have been unable to find out when or where they are being held, nor what has been discussed. They feel like a “secret society” to me and I don’t know the handshake. So I very much appreciate your reporting, and would also appreciate the following:
    1) Since you obviously know about these meetings, could you post about their location and time in advance so others could attend?
    2) Is there any chance you could pass on how to stay on top of this group’s activities? I have as yet been unable to locate a website, find a contact or get on a mailing list.

    I am not surprised that trail maintenance will be reduced once again. I would love to “make my feelings known to K Country and Alberta Transportation on this issue,” but a contact who can do something about it would be good. “Writing my MLA” (David Swann) has proved pointless in the past.

    I’m curious: the same way there’s an “Adopt a Highway” program, is there an “Adopt a Trail” program? I would happily participate some manual labour a copule of times a year to help clear a trail or two, but don’t know who does this. In the last 2 years I have been up to my neck in grass on the overgrown Eagle Hill trail, clambered over huge amounts of deadfall on the Tent Ridge access, and arrived at numerous “vistas” that have been so overgrown as to be “not vistas”. This strikes me as an ideal project for KTUG to coordinate.

Leave a Comment