The National Hiking Trail and the electric fence

Doug Campbell forwarded to me an article that appeared in the Feb 21 issue of the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Doug is the creator of the National Hiking Trail, which is not to be confused with the Trans Canada Trail that came later.  When asked if there is an  overlap in K Country he said “no [the trail enters the Canmore corridor over Skogan Pass] but may be shared within the town of Banff.”

The route between Skogan Pass and Canmore is still up in the air. The TCT uses the Three Sisters Pathway which is mostly paved with a few gravelly bits  and hard on the feet. Biking is the only way to go. The whole idea of the National Hiking Trail is that trails are for hikers only (snowshoers and skiers in the winter) and that they should be pleasant to walk on and away from built-up areas. Therein lies the problem. In trying to establish a route, Doug and his  co-horts have been caught between a rock and a hard place, or to put it another way, between wildlife corridors and Three Sisters Mountain Village.

You can hear the frustration when Doug says: “Continuity of the route through the Bow Valley is threatened during current negotiations between the Town of Canmore and Price Waterhouse Coopers Inc for insolvent Three Sisters Mountain Village, with combined environmental groups likely affecting NHT presence. NHT representation has been made to Council. See Town of Canmore website for details and calendar of proceedings. All three TS land managers always saw us as located along the upper edges of their developments which fitted in with the concept of a buffer strip alongside wildlife corridors. Fine, except they never defined the route until TSMV arrived and then the Council majority sold us down the river to allow wildlife free range. The environmental bloc steamroller had no room for compromise. All opponents in this current game are even more deeply entrenched. ”

And on March 5 in the Canmore Leader  and today, March 7, in the Calgary Herald, we learned of a proposal by a biologist in the pay of PWC to put an electric  fence around the development, which would of course further impact  the trail’s alignment.  As someone said “ We didn’t move [to Canmore] to live in a zoo.”

There is lots for you to comment on (I’m playing the Devil’s Advocate here):  The effects of fencing in communities; do we NEED a hikers only trail between the paved Three Sisters Pathway down by the river and the Highline Trail up on the slopes?  Is it time more attention was paid to hikers needs rather than to bikers needs? — meaning, has the pendulum swung too far the other way? What do you think of the proposed  new development by Price Waterhouse Coopers as outlined in the Rocky Mountain Outlook on Feb. 28 with not a mention of the NHT?

I hope to hear from you all, especially the Canmorites.


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