Waterton Lakes still recovering from Kenow Fire

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The Kenow Fire in Waterton Lakes National Park. (Parks Canada photo)

Waterton Lakes National Park continues to recover from the Kenow wildfire of 2017. The fire ultimately burned about 94,000 acres overall and about 48,000 acres in Waterton Lakes National Park, a sister park to Glacier National Park.

Parks Canada announced Monday plans to complete as much work as possible during a short construction season to address more than 30 assets damaged during the fire.

In January, Parks Canada reported that $20.9 million (Canadian) is being invested to support Waterton’s ongoing recovery.

On Monday, a news release advised, “Visitors are encouraged to plan their trips ahead of time to have the best possible experience. To maintain public safety and ensure work is completed in an efficient and timely manner, some areas may not be accessible while construction is occurring.”

Visitors should expect construction traffic and noise.

Parks Canada provided an update on several projects:

• Red Rock Parkway — Non-motorized access, as far as Coppermine Creek on the Red Rock Parkway, will continue until later this spring when a closure will be necessary for hazard tree removal and infrastructure repairs. Parks Canada expects that the Red Rock Parkway, Red Rock Canyon Day Use Area, and hiking trails in the area will re-open in summer 2019.

• Cameron Falls area — Work to repair and enhance the Cameron Falls viewpoints will begin in mid-May. This project includes repairing the burned lookouts on the Carthew-Alderson trail, as well as the short trail and lookouts on the north side of Cameron Falls. The pedestrian bridge along Cameron Falls Drive will be open. The Carthew-Alderson trail is currently closed and the adjacent parking spaces south of the falls will close temporarily as work takes place. This work is scheduled for completion by mid-July 2019.

• Bear’s Hump trail — Rebuilding of Bear’s Hump trail started in late April. The trail and trailhead parking lot are closed to the public during construction. The trail is expected to open this fall.

• Akamina Parkway — Hazard tree removal, rebuilding of roadside parking, culvert replacements, ditch excavation, rock scaling, and hydrological and slope stability investigations will take place in 2019. The Akamina Parkway is anticipated to re-open to motor vehicles in 2021.

• Crandell Mountain Campground — Parks Canada is developing plans for the rebuilding of Crandell Mountain Campground. Both construction and natural regeneration of this site will take time. The Crandell Mountain Campground is scheduled to open in spring 2022.

• Visitor Centre — Construction of the new visitor center began in May. The new visitor center is scheduled to open to the public in 2021.

Additional information about these and other projects can be found at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/waterton-construction

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