The Friends are thrilled to announce the commencement of the Powderface Creek trail project! Here’s our press release describing it:
Press release, April 26, 2023
A popular trail in the Kananaskis Public Land Use Zone (“KC-PLUZ”) will get substantially upgraded by The Friends of Kananaskis Country, courtesy of a $340,000 grant from the Ministry of Forestry, Parks and Tourism (“FPT”).
The Friends are a 1,200-member strong, non-profit society that supports FPT staff in maintaining non-motorized trails in Kananaskis. For several years, The Friends have had an agreement with FPT to have prime responsibility for trail maintenance in the Sibbald area, and the northwest portion of the KC-PLUZ. In 2021, the Friends identified Powderface Creek trail as needing maintenance and repairs far beyond what volunteers could do. $240,000 of the grant will be directed to rebuilding the westernmost 3.5 km of this trail.
“Normally, The Friends tap into our membership to provide thousands of hours of volunteer time to help on FPT trail repair projects,” says Friends’ Director of Communications, Derek Ryder. “But due to the condition of this trail, reconstruction using heavy equipment is needed prior to our volunteers coming in.”
This significant grant is transformative for the Friends. “It requires us to hire contractors to Project Manage, gain needed approvals, create RFPs, let tenders, and hire construction firms,” says Ryder. “We’ve never done anything like this before. Successful execution of this 2-year project will facilitate building capacity within the organization, which will enable tackling larger scale projects into the future.”
The remainder of the grant allows the Friends to retain and build staff to further enhance and expand our trail care efforts elsewhere in the KC-PLUZ. “The Friends see numerous opportunities to improve the existing trail network and enable additional volunteer efforts, in an area that hasn’t seen much trail love for a number of years,” Ryder continued. All of the funds are coming from revenues generated by the Kananaskis Conservation Pass.
Incorporated in 1996, The Friends of Kananaskis Cooperating Society is the largest and oldest volunteer group that supports FPT. Their mission is “Building a community of volunteers and partners to maintain the ecological integrity and recreational use of Kananaskis Country by engaging in trail care, stewardship, education, and research.” In 2022, The Friends put in over 2,700 hours of volunteer time in support of trails in Kananaskis Country.
Powderface Creek Trail Project Facts:
- Powderface Creek trail runs between Hwy 66 and the Powderface Trail;
- The Powderface Creek trail offers access to the northern section of Powderface Ridge, a very popular hike and mountain bike route;
- The existing 3.5 km section will be approximately 4.2 km when built;
- Of the westernmost 1.6 km, ~600 m will be rebuilt, and ~1,000 m re-routed, primarily with volunteers;
- The next ~2.6 km will be totally re-routed out of the valley, making the trail more sustainable and eliminate the risk of flood damage. It will be built by contractors using heavy equipment, and finished by volunteers. The total length of new build is ~3.5 km, though the final routing is subject to reviews and approvals;
- The project funding expires in March 2025; project funds must be spent by then;
- It is not anticipated that consequential trail closures will be required in the area;
- 2023 will see the completion of detailed design and bidding for contractors;
- It is possible that some tree clearing and brushing will be done in late fall 2023 to avoid impacts of the Migratory Bird act;
- The majority of the heavy construction work will take place in 2024;
- Enhancing parking is not within the scope of the project.