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West Bragg Creek All Season Trail Plan Summary

2015 06 17

Prepared by: Alf Skastins, Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association 
 
View gallery illustrating some of the work done in West Bragg this past season
 
Just 5 years ago, the West Bragg Creek trail system consisted of 46 km of XC Ski trails that were build 30 years earlier out of a pre-existing network of logging haul roads, energy industry roads and cut-lines. The trails were not maintained for summer use, so they were boggy, rutted and increasingly overgrown.
 
In 2009 the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA), under a Partnership Agreement with Alberta Parks, developed an All-Season Trails Plan to improve the existing ski trail network and add an entirely new network of purpose-built all-season trails. The twin goals were to improve the trail user experience, while minimizing or reducing the environmental impact of recreational use.

The plan had a public input process and was approved by the Alberta Government in 2010. 

The implementation of the Plan was led by the GBCTA, in partnership with Alberta Parks, the Friends of Kananaskis Country, the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance and many, many volunteers and donors.
 
  1. $ 650,000 has been raised and expended from a variety of sources, mostly non-government. $270,000 was raised and spent just in 2014!
  2. Over 12,500 volunteer hours has been contributed by hundreds of volunteers accomplishing an extensive variety of tasks and providing donated equipment and services. 2014 has been a particularly big year, with over 5,500 hours of volunteer work being provided!
  3. 62 km of new trails have been constructed.  This includes 44 km of all season trails, 14 km of snowshoe trails and 4 km of cross country ski trails.  Trails built in 2014 include Merlin View all-season trail, Snowy Owl and Snowy Shortcut snowshoe trails and Mountain View XC Ski Trail.
  4. 10 km of ski trails have been repaired, drainage upgraded, re-brushed, rerouted or widened. This includes: Sundog, Crystal Line, Loggers Loop and Moose Connector. Several easy ski loops were created on Easy & West Crystal Line, by constructing re-routes to avoid hills and adding short flat sections.
  5. East Crystal and Sundog ski trails have been widened to create a 5 km skate ski loop. Drainage and tread was repaired to make these trails sustainable.
  6. East Telephone trail has been repaired and upgraded for the first 6 km to a multi-use trail for skiing, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and horseback riding (excluding December 1 to March 31). It is now quite dry to Long Distance Junction.
  7. Snowshoe Hare, the first snowshoe trail, was brushed, cleared of deadfall and tweaked.
  8. 22 new bridges have been constructed over water courses.
  9. 55 culverts with associated drainage improvements have been installed on ski trails and East Telephone multi-use trail.
  10. 1,500 blaze markers and nearly early 200 new map signs and trail name signs were purchased and installed by volunteers. 
 

West Bragg Creek Trails 2015 Planning Summary

  1. Construct Snakes & Ladders all-season trail between the NW corner of Ranger Summit and the NE corner of Ridgeback Trail.  Creating many loop options with Ridgeback, Tom Snow, Mountain Road, Bobcat, etc.  
  2. Clear brush, upgrade and fix drainage and erosion issues on Demi-Tel all season trail. 
  3. Clear and sign an additional snowshoe route around the parking lot area to deal with snow retention for snowshoeing and provide a quieter route to Long Distance as an alternative to Braggin Rights
  4. Complete smoothing and clearing work on Telephone Loop.
  5. Continue work of clearing encroaching brush on XC ski trails and drainage improvements in identified wet areas.
  6. Obtain a Protective Notation (PNT) to protect all WBC trails. 
  7. Initial work on additional ski trails/multi use trails west of Mountain View and SW of Moose Loop.  Options include upgrades to Tom Snow Trail (drainage, brush clearing) and re-purposing Spray Lakes Sawmills haul roads.  SLS will still use those roads this summer and will reclaim them in 2016, unless we get agreement to convert some of them to trails.  Initial work and the construction of a bridge may start in 2015.
  8. Planning of route alignment options for possible trails north of Merlin Loop, which would be part of the Trans-Canada Trail system.
  9. Begin planning for a trailhead warming hut/ information centre building. Ideally construction timing would mesh with the construction of expanded parking facilities by Alberta Parks.

 

Alf Skrastins,
Special Projects Coordinator
Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association
 

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