WBC Ski Trail Network Expansion and Improvements – 2014
Over the summer and fall of 2014, the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association has been focusing on significant improvements to the West Bragg Creek cross-country ski trail network, as approved in the All-Season Trails Plan. This work is a continuation of the West Bragg Creek All Season Trail Plan, a collaboration between the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA) and Alberta Parks and Recreation (TPR).
Below is a summary of the major developments:
1. Widening of East Crystal Line and Sundog to allow for a skate skiing lane (as well as two track-set lanes), resulting in a 5 km skate loop. This work included tree removal, brush clearing and re-grading to make the trails 6 metres wide. Drainage issues have also been addressed in order to improve snow retention and eliminate ice flows.
2. New “Mountain View” trail. An entirely new trail has been constructed running west from the west end of Crystal Line, and joining with Mountain Road. This has resulted in a 6km loop with stunning views of Moose Mountain to the west.
3.Creation of 4 “easy” ski loops; “Chickadee” and “Bunny” are close by the parking lot and combine to form a figure-of-8. There are also two longer easy loops (one 2 km long on West Crystal Line and one 1 km long on East Crystal and Sundog) with reroutes to avoid steep hills.
4. Moose Connector / Loop. Realignment and re-grading of Moose Connector has eliminated a notoriously-tricky (steep / narrow) hill on Moose Connector, with a much-improved entry point on to Moose Loop.
5. East Telephone trail has been re-graded and drainage added to address a series of muddy sections from the West Bragg Creek Parking Lot to the 5 km mark.
6. Network-wide drainage improvements and re-routes. Upgrading of existing culverts, adding new culverts, adding and replacing/upgrading bridges, and re-grading trails will reduce the amount of water pooling and erosion on the trails. Water on the trails melts the early season snowfalls and reduces the amount of snow available for grooming. When water on the trail freezes, it can form hazardous ice flows, often at the bottom of steep hills.
7. Upgraded signage including trail system maps, trail identification/difficulty and safety signs so that skiers can safely plan the route that best suits their needs and experience level.
By the numbers since 2010:
- 10,000+ hours of volunteer effort
- 1,500 blaze trail markers installed by volunteers.
- 190 new signs (trail maps / junction markers) – to be installed December 2014
- 50+ km – West Bragg Creek expanded and upgraded cross-country ski trails network
- 50 culverts / drainage improvements installed
- 22 new bridges installed / repaired
- 20 km of ski trails repaired, drainage upgraded, re-brushed, rerouted or widened
- 14 km of new snowshoe trails
- 4 km of new ski trails (including the entirely new Mountain View trail)
The West Bragg Creek All Season Trail Plan was conceived and developed with the twin goals of improving the visitor experience with the creation of a multi-use all season trail system, while minimizing the environmental impact of recreational use. The Plan provided for the expansion and upgrading of the WBC trail system to better meet the needs of all types of non-motorized users, while reducing impacts on the local watershed. The WBC trails have seen dramatic growth in summer and winter use in recent years. However, the pre-existing 46 km of ski trails were originally developed over 30 years ago for winter cross country ski use only.
Looking forward to seeing you on the trails!!