Submitted by Alf Skrastins and David Cebuliak. Edited by Eric Lloyd. April 2018
GBCTA Volunteers provided 8701 hours of work at West Bragg Creek in2017 plus 689 hours of work on the Trans Canada Trail in Rocky View County, for a grand total of 9,390 hours.
$165,065 of donated funds were spent on trail work in West Bragg Creek in 2017.
The two major projects in 2018 at West Bragg Creek were the construction of the upgraded parking and trailhead facilities and constructing the remaining links of the Trans-Canada Trail.
West Bragg Creek Parking Lot Upgrade
The WBC parking lot upgrade project created significant change within the PRA. There was significant disruption of public access during the 5 month major construction process. All of the trailhead access points changed as a result of the larger parking lot footprint and this required the realignment of a number of trails.
- Braggin Rights– The first 200m of Braggin Rights was rerouted to reduce the trail steepness and to slow riders on the approach to the new trailhead location. The first 50m is a common start for both Braggin Rights and Whitetail. Old alignment decommissioned.
- Whitetail– The first 150m of Whitetail was rerouted to significantly reduce trail steepness and to start from a junction with Braggin Rights. A short segment was rerouted to avoid a short, flat, wet area. Old alignments decommissioned.
- East Telephone/Hostel– The access trail to East Telephone / Hostel Loops was re-aligned to meet the new trailhead location and parking lot perimeter trail. The removal of shade/wind shelter trees during the construction process resulted in significant sun and wind exposure to the first hill up from the parking lot. The addition of light snow fencing as part of the parking lot construction project proved inadequate to mitigate premature melting, wind scouring and ice-flow formation.
- Snowshoe Hare– The east start to Snowshoe Hare was decommissioned in anticipation of construction of the nearby Interpretive Trail
- Snowy Owl trailhead moved to new Mountain Road kiosk
- Chickadee Meadow training area was raised and levelled with excess fill from the parking lot construction project. The approach to the West Crystal Line bridge was raised to provide a smooth transition from the Chickadee Meadow and to reduce the grade on the bridge approach. This was done as part of the construction project.The Chickadee Meadow was used by thousands of skiers this season hosting training sessions, XCBC and Foothills Nordic club events and the most successful Alberta Youth Championships in history.
- Bunny Loop was moved onto the old East Sundog alignment.
- A Perimeter Trail was constructed around the parking lot as part of the upgrade project. This trail links all of the trailheads around the parking lot and serves as the start of Sundog trail along the south parking lots.
The Trans-Canada Trail west of Bragg Creek enters Kananaskis Country from Range Road 54. The following links were constructed to take the Trans-Canada Trail through the West Bragg Creek trail network.
- Iron Creek– A 300m segment of new trail was constructed at the Range Road 54 entrance. A ride-over cattle guard and swing gate was installed. A raised tread pathway, with three short bridges was constructed to avoid a bog area.
- Iron Creek– A single-track link from the Iron Creek/Iron Springs junction was constructed to connect to Boundary Ridge trail.
- Boundary Ridge– A short segment of Boundary Ridge trail was rerouted to avoid a chronic wet-muddy area. The old alignment was decommissioned.
- Kestrel– Most of the 5 km Kestrel trail was cleared and roughed-in by mini-excavator. The first 2 km has been largely hand-finished by volunteers. About 300m of machine work is still required to connect the north end of Kestrel with the Tom Snow trail.
- Merlin View– Several minor tread and drainage repairs were completed as the mini-excavator was en route to the Kestrel project.
Other All-Season Single Track Trail Projects
- Long Distance– trail corridor cleared of encroaching brush, plus drainage repairs
- Ranger Summit– several tread and drainage repairs
- Reconnect– tread and drainage improvements
- Snakes & Ladders– realignment of the tread that was constructed by Spray Lakes Sawmills at the reclaimed haul road. Reduced grades.
- Sugar Mama– Bridge materials delivered to bridge replacement site.
XC Ski Trails Summer Projects
- Extensive tread drainage work was done at 20 sites on Eastand West Crystal Line, Sundog,Iron Springs, Elbow, Hosteland Moose Connector. This included uphill trenching, cross drain pipes and french drains and a culvert extension on Bunny Loop. A volunteer provided mini-backhoe was used to install trenching and drainage on upper West Crystal Lineand Mountain View, effectively addressing ice-flow and summer drainage issues.
- Loggers bridge deck widened from 9’ to 12’ and bridge supports strengthened. Materials transported to for a future bridge to replace a culvert on West Crystal Line.
- Direct Current Heat Tapes were installed in 5 culverts that are prone to freezing, ice damming and the creation of ice flows. They would be powered by generators, to thaw ice blockages.
- Extensive brushing was completed on south Moose Loopand Elbow to significantly widen the useable tread. Tree removal and stump grinding was used to widen the tread at 25 sites on West Crystal Line and Bunny Loop.
- All of the core XC ski trails were mowed using GBCTA and volunteer supplied equipment. This removes obstructions to grooming equipment allows for good quality grooming with minimal snowfall amounts.
- The Elbow River Watershed Partnership organized a bio engineering project at the West Crystal-Moose Connector-Mountain View junction. This included the use of river rock, MSE Flex Wall bags and vegetation cuttings for bank and trench stabilization.
- In late October five 50 lb bags of Alberta Parks approved native seed mix were hand spread and tilled on the Iron Springsand Elbow
- A major wind storm in October resulted in a large number of trees being blown down onto or leaning over most of the WBC trails. All blowdown was removed by a contracted arborist with funding from Alberta Parks.
- 30 signs were moved from trees to metal sign posts installed across the entire trails system
The GBCTA Tails Centre was moved to its permanent location and grid electric power was connected, as part of the Parking Lot Upgrade Project. The GBCTA arranged for the relocation, filling and certification of the external propane tank.
The GBCTA equipment inventory now includes 2 tracked KE1 trucks, 2 snowmobiles, ski grooming implements, a quad, a 2WD motorcycle, 2 utility trailers, a brush mower, chainsaws and a power brush cutter, and dozens of hand tools like shovels, rakes, mattocks, pulaskis, hoes, McLeods, pole saws and hand saws.