Alberta Parks conducted a 60-day consultation from August 28 to October 27, 2017, on the redevelopment of several day use areas and a group campsite along Highway 40 between Canoe Meadows and Barrier Lake. These upgrades will address concerns regarding user conflict, ecological impacts, traffic congestion and increased accessibility to this important water-based recreation destination. This project will also provide opportunities to address the diversity of uses in this area through stakeholder engagement to ensure facilities meet user needs effectively. This plan has been created to represent the ultimate build-out of this area. Alberta Parks recognizes that given ecological sensitivities and social carrying capacity, future facility development beyond this plan is not recommended.
As a result of public consultation, Alberta Parks will proceed with the project with a few changes to the initial proposal. The following changes will be implemented over the next three years:
Overall Project Area:
- Installing consistent signage to improve wayfinding, safety messaging and understanding of the area’s ecology;
- Installing paddling-specific gear drying racks at day use areas. Boat racks will not be installed as originally proposed;
- Installing bike racks at day use areas;
- Once construction is complete, facility zones will be amended to more accurately reflect current facility footprints and;
- A five-year moratorium will be placed on construction of all new river features; this moratorium will not include maintenance of existing features.
- An auto-accessible walk-in tent camping loop will be constructed with some separation from the group camp area. Comfort camping stations will not be offered at this site;
- The group camp shelter, picnic tables and fire pits will be upgraded;
- Trails to the river and access points will be formalized, and an accessible trail with put-in will be constructed at the north end of the site and;
- A small white-water training facility will be constructed in partnership with an external partner.
Kananaskis Visitor Centre:
- Designated river access points and trail improvements; and
- A “standing wave” area will be designated on the river with signage to communicate the area where users may be recreating in one location on the river rather than passing through.
- Public access points above and below the Widowmaker feature will be repaired and upgraded and;
- A commercial access point will be provided upstream, from the Widowmaker feature. Access to this put-in will be provided via a new loop road designed for commercial use only.
- A hand boat launch, associated access road and loading zone will be constructed;
- Picnic opportunities will be upgraded and;
- A small-scale tourism accommodation opportunity and an equipment rental hut development opportunity will go out through a Request for Proposals process. Their construction is dependent on the outcomes of that process. A Connection Corner with an accessible trail will be constructed from the upper day use area.
The following features will be constructed at the Kananaskis Visitor Centre once funds become available:
- Parking lot expansions and day use area upgrades; and
- A staging area for water sports will be constructed. This staging area will include parking, a non-heated change room, picnic tables and a small shelter that can serve as a warming hut in the winter and;
For more information on the details of the redevelopment, please see the final project plan and the Frequently Asked Questions document.
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