KTAG November Meeting News

  • Smith-Dorrien Trail system. The parking lot will be plowed this winter and coloured markers of the same colour will go back on some trails, like Blue loop and some of orange, and yellow. There is not enough money in the kitty this year to clear deadfall from trails, so because of the liability issue  they are not at the moment being tooted as ski trails. Instead they are being promoted as snowshoe trails. (You can still ski the trails this winter but at your own risk.) Can skiers and snowshoers co-exist on these trails is the question no-one knows the answer to. At least snowshoers can help pack the trails! Would like to hear from both groups as the winter progresses.
  • Fortress Ski Area.  This winter organized cat skiing will be going ahead. People will be driven up in vans from the bottom of the road. Unfortunately, the road will remain closed to public vehicles.
  • Kananaskis Country plans to adopt the new icon-rich avalanche report format developed by the Canadian Avalanche Centre and Parks Canada.
  • The Sandy McNabb ski trails will be streamlined i.e some loops and connectors will not be groomed or trackset. A new brochure will show the changes.
  • Logging will commence at West Bragg Creek next summer and continue through to about  the following January. Before then a haul road will be pushed through from Homestead Road at the Junpingpound end, but should not impact the ski trails north of West Bragg  parking lot too much apart from crossing them. Some sections of ski trails south of the  parking lot may have to be temporarily re-routed.  Work will start first on the Boundary Ridge area, which is the ridge east of Sundog east leg  and Iron Springs trail, and on the north and west slopes of Snagmore Hill. Some of the new bike/hike trails will be affected, such as the Snagmore Hill trail, but will be put back as was a couple of weeks after logging. One thing’s for sure: The scenery’s going to look a little different for the next little while.Know that the logged strips will act as fire breaks put in to protect the hamlet of Bragg Creek. So I am puzzled as to why the ground will be scarified and replanted with seedlings. Long before the trees reach maturity and can once again be logged, they will present a fire hazard surely.

Feel free to comment on anything you read here.

9 comments… add one
  • Gillean Daffern Jan 22, 2012, 4:04 pm

    Hi Jacob,
    you’ve probably seen the article in the Herald (Saturday Jan 21). But for anyone who hasn’t, booking info is available at kpow.ca. The article ends by saying that a public launch is being held at the Local 522 Restaurant/pub (522 6 Ave. SW downtown) on Wednesday (presumably the 25th) from 4 pm to 7 pm with draws for free passes.

  • Jacob Martin Jan 9, 2012, 10:47 pm

    I would like to know more information about the cat skiing operation. Is there anywhere I can get more information from the company who is facilitating this. This is a great opportunity to utilize the area, and would like to help support for this type of business in parks. Sustainable recreation in our parks will help with conservation efforts. Thanks!!

  • Gillean Daffern Jan 2, 2012, 10:35 pm

    Hi Stella,
    I always take with a grain of salt what the media says. At the KTAG meeting , Jordan Dyck from Spray Lakes Sawmills showed us a very detailed map showing where the haul road is going and what trails will be affected. I presume this same map will be available for looking at at the open house in Bragg Creek. I am sure that with all the concerned people willing to be out there checking, Spray Lakes will put the trails back as fast as possible. This is a priority.

  • stella Jan 2, 2012, 6:57 pm

    Hi Gillean,
    I heard on the CTV news tonight (lead story Jan 2nd 6pm) that many more trails will be effected by this logging than you suggest. On the related website SustainK.ca it says it will take 9 months to do the logging and then it will be years before regrowth. The information that is slowly emerging suggests it will be much more disruptive to the trail system than previously stated via open house. Perhaps the open house on Jan 26th at the Bragg Creek Centre will answer more of these questions.

  • Gillean Daffern Dec 3, 2011, 12:47 pm

    Re logging, the thinking nowadays is that logging replaces the devastation and regeneration caused by fires. In the case of West Bragg, a fire would never be allowed to burn out of control so close to the hamlet. Apparently, fires in a younger forest are easier to control that fires that spread from crown to crown in mature trees as is what happened at Slave Lake. Before our time, before Bragg Creek hamlet, fires were prevalent all through the foothills, old pics showing a very different landscape of burnt-over hills and ridges. Pines, the dominant foothills species, actually needs fire to regenerate — it’s a strange kind of symbiotic relationship— so the forest would spring back time after time. No problem.

    I think a lot depends on where its done and how it’s done. I hate the vast clearcuts you see in the Highwood and adjacient to Wildhorse trail in the Elbow. Some more recent logging in the headwaters of Moose Creek are more natural looking with feathered edges and islands. Previously the islands (ie those on McLean Hill) were too small and the trees blew down in the first puff of wind, but Spray Lakes has learned from their first efforts to create a more natural look and the islands will now be much larger.

  • Alf Skrastins Dec 2, 2011, 12:30 am

    In answer to Angelique’s question… there is currently only one official ski trail in the Rummel/Chester/Burstall/Rummel area. That trail is the Chester Lake loop. This trail starts on a shared ski/snowshoe trail until the snowshoe trail branches off. The ski trail goes up one old logging road, then up a narrower trail to Chester Lake. You return on the narrow trail down to the junction and follow a different old logging trail back to the shared ski/snowshoe trail.
    All other official trails in the area (Rummel Lake, Burstall Pass, Black Prince, etc) are shared use trails, except for a few short snowshoe loops.
    The Sawmill trails in question USED to be groomed an XC ski trails network, but they have not been groomed for several years due to the poverty condition of the Alberta Government. Two years ago all the old trail signs were removed. They are not currently classified as any kind of official trail, other than one short snowshoe loop from the Sawmill parking lot.
    This proposal returns the trails to official status and at least provides basic signage to keep users from getting lost. In their present state, they are deemed safe enough to be identified as snowshoe trails, but there are too many hazards for Parks to list them as un-groomed XC trails. Nobody is going to stop you from skiing on the trails, but you’ll be doing so at your own risk, with the understanding that there are hazards like deadfall and trees growing on the trail and that snowshoers will be using the trails.
    The trails that are being officially identified for this winter are the more gentle, rolling trails and not the ones with steeper descents. It is therefore unlikely that there will be the kinds of opportunities for collisions that you refer to.
    If you want to avoid snowshoers, you may want to stick to the groomed XC trails at Mt. Shark and Kananaskis Lakes where snowshoeing is not permitted on the ski trails.

  • Scott Dec 1, 2011, 10:56 pm

    In regards to the logging around Bragg Creek does anyone think that the term “fire smarting” is this nothing more than this year’s version of “clear cut?”

    I mean this seems simple – hire a PR firm and the do a find/replace for clear cut = fire smart.

    Did I miss something – when has Bragg Creek burned down in teh past?

  • Clive Cordery Nov 30, 2011, 7:27 pm

    I don’t believe that “the logged strips will act as fire breaks put in to protect the Hamlet of Bragg Creek” any more than I believe that the horrendous clearcuts at Barrier Lake will protect the forest from the Mountain Pine beetle (which is what I was told when I protested). I do believe however that the timber extraction industry has similar morals and ethics as the oil industry.

  • Angélique Mandel Nov 29, 2011, 10:50 pm

    Hi Gillean and Tony,

    Re: Smith-Dorrien Trails decision – not right, not fair!

    I thought that there were already existing snowshoe trails separate from the ski trails in that area. Is that not correct? Then why would they have to share?

    No disrespect intended, however, I do not believe that snowshoers and cross-country skiers can happily and safely co-exist on the same trails. Skiers are much faster, and, on the uphills as well as the downhills (sometimes) they occupy more space and if the snowshoers don’t pay attention there will be a collision. Especially on the rapid downhills for skiers who cannot stop on a dime, it creates enormous safety issues.


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