BOW VALLEY – A popular hiking trail and climbing area will be closed for the summer for construction to improve the area.
Alberta Parks recently announced Mount Yamnuska (Îyâ Mnathka) in Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park will be undergoing upgrades to the trail from the end of May through November.
In a release, the government said trail crews will be on-site “upgrading sanctioned trail sections, constructing new sections and decommissioning non-sanctioned routes.”
The closure is aimed at reducing risks to people while contractors work with heavy equipment on sloped terrain.
Among the areas being closed are the trailhead parking lot, all access and all trails, routes and climbs on the mountain, Yamnuska Cliffs, Yamnuska Bluffs and Big Choss bouldering, access to the Yamnuska day-use parking lot to CMC Valley and access to the mountain from Goat Buttress and CMC Valley.
“All these locations pose safety threats to the contractor and vice versa," according to the government release. "Closing the entire mountain is the most efficient way to complete this project in 2021.”
The release highlighted that with visitation increasing, Kananaskis public safety and conservation officers respond to more than 50 rescue calls a year on Yamnuska.
“Public safety incidents include lost or exhausted hikers, minor injuries, life-threatening and life-altering injuries and fatalities,” the release stated. “This high number of public safety calls on one mountain is straining limited resources.”
Alberta Parks noted the upgrades will help with trail erosion, address drainage issues, avoid routing near endangered whitebark pine, increasing signage and constructing a new descent trail.
For people looking for alternatives, Alberta Parks said they can call the Kananaskis Information Line at 1-403-678-0760.