CANMORE – As access and services in national and provincial parks start opening, the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) is nearing an announcement regarding use of its backcountry huts.
Lawrence White, ACC executive director, said users visiting its backcountry huts would have a modified experience this year, should the non-profit organization be able to open.
“I expect we’ll be in a position by the end of the month to make a public announcement leaning towards a slightly different offering at the facilities,” said White. “Clearly we can’t have 30 people up at the Bow Hut – 30 random people – so we are hoping we can modify the offering a little bit and still give people some kind of experience this summer.
“But until we kind of have gotten our lead from Parks Canada and what we’re actually able to do, being trailheads specifically and parking access, we’re just going to keep those cards close right now, because there’s no sense in getting people’s hopes up.”
On Wednesday (May 27), a step in a positive direction for ACC was taken when Parks Canada announced starting June 1 it would begin a gradual opening of “some outdoor locations in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.”
White said ACC and Parks Canada would make informed decisions during the next phase of reopening.
White said that would likely include reduced capacity at the huts and a heightened cleaning regime.
Like many businesses, ACC isn’t immune to the realties of the COVID-19 virus, but there is confidence moving forward, White said.
“We’re optimistic that there will be some sort of backcountry offering and we do have some new camps running under this year … but just know the Alpine Club isn’t going anywhere. We’ve been around for a while and we intend to stay that way,” he said.