In 2016, The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association focused on upgrading existing trails, adding new winter trails and enhancing the visitor experience at the West Bragg Creek trail network.
Volunteers contributed over 8,000 hours of work and $150,000 of donations were spent on dozens of projects to construct, upgrade and maintain the West Bragg Creek trail network.
Significant investments and actions by Alberta Parks/ Government of Alberta resulted in a number of important enhancements to the trail network and planning for even larger improvements for next year.
1. A sustainable, all-season tread was constructed on 1.5 km of Snowshoe Hare (west) trail. This included some trail re-routes, plus drainage and tread reconstruction.
2. Trail repairs and ongoing maintenance was completed at 15 sites on Braggin Rights, Long Distance, Boundary Ridge, Ranger Summit and Strange Brew trails.
3. A 300 meter segment Snakes & Ladders trail was re-constructed by Spray Lakes Sawmills. The trail had followed a portion of a log-haul road, which was being reclaimed back to the original terrain contours. An interesting new trail was built into the re-contoured terrain by SLS and hand-finished by volunteers.
4. Alberta Environment and Parks approved official designation for the 3.5 km Sugar Mama and 3.9 km Sugar Daddy trails. About 300m of tread work and a re-alignment of the Sugar Daddy/Elbow Trail junction was completed, and materials for a new bridge on Sugar Mama were moved to site, in preparation for construction in 2017.
1. A 4.6 km portion of Spray Lakes Sawmills log-haul road that was test groomed in the 2015/2016 ski season was converted into Mountain View West (3.8km) and an upgraded portion of Moose Loop (0.8 km) XC ski trails. Spray Lakes Sawmills replaced 16 culverts with new ones provided by GBCTA, placed concrete block abutments for two bridges, installed one steel bridge frame, constructed a sun/wind shade berm and upgraded all of the tread and drainage, as part of their logging reclamation. GBCTA volunteers constructed two bridges (20’ X 12’ and 40’ X 12’) and added signage.
2. A 1.9 km portion of a 50 year old logging road was upgraded as part of the Iron Creek segment of the Trans-Canada Trail . In 2017, this will be connected to the Bragg Creek leg of the Trans-Canada Trail.
3. Several existing ski trails were extensively upgraded for improved drainage, better snow capture/retention and a smooth tread. This includes 3.5 km of Iron Springs Trail , 0.5 km of Loggers Loop , and 4.6 km of Elbow Trail.
4. West Crystal Line was widened to allow the trail to be groomed for skate skiing as well as classic XC track-setting. About 1.0km of Upper West Crystal Line was re-graded to smooth the tread and drainage repairs were made to deal with an ice-flow site. Extensive bio-engineering work, drainage improvements and an additional culvert were added at the West Crystal Line-Moose Connector junction to manage an ice-flow problem and to reclaim stream banks and a cut slope to a native state.
5. Iron Springs, Middle Crystal Line, Bunny Loop, Chickadee Loop , Loggers Loop and portions of Moose Loop had overhanging trees removed, stumps ground level with the tread, encroaching brush cut out and were then mowed to provide better snow capture, retention and a smoother tread for XC ski grooming.
6. West Telephone Loop was significantly cleared of encroaching brush and small trees. For most of its 6.7km length, the cleared width has been returned to its original design specifications.
7. Alberta Parks invested in a number of important improvements to the trail infrastructure. The Crystal Line/Sundog bridge and Moose Connector bridge were replaced with new, stronger ones, one West Telephone Loop bridge was replaced, and about 500m of Elbow Trail was rerouted, complete with a substantial new bridge , at the Fullerton Loop Junction.
1. Two old roads were cleared, signed and designated as winter multi-user trails. The Old Hostel Road (0.8 km) connects Snowshoe Hare Loop to the east entrance of the WBC access road. The 1.3 km Old Shell Road , provides snowshoers, fat-bikers and hikers with a link between Mountain Road and west Telephone Loop. The full 12.1 length of Telephone Loop is now designated for XC skiing, snowshoeing, fat-biking and winter walking.
2. A new 1.2 km West Crystal Winter Multi-Use trail was constructed adjacent to the existing West Crystal Line XC ski trail. This provides non-skiers with an attractive trail that is separate from the ski trail. It makes a great loop with the Snowy Owl trail.
3. The new 0.7km Whitetail trail was tweaked to ease a steep section, smooth some rough bits and fix a couple of drainage issues.
4. Snowshoe Hare got several short re-alignments, including one meadow route that greatly improves snow capture.
5. Several sections of Snowy Owl totalling about 1 km were re-routed to reduce steepness, minimize side-slopes, improve snow capture and provide better views.
6. Almost 600 fat-bike blazes were added to the existing snowshoe blazes to identify winter multi-use trails, where fat-biking is permitted, along with snowshoeing and hiking.
1. Alberta Parks started construction of a new Fullerton Trailhead parking lot on the north side of Highway #66, opposite the Allen Bill parking lot. The new lot has a capacity of 50 vehicles and 5-6 horse trailers. It is currently gravel surfaced, but will be paved in the summer. Toilets, trash facilities and information kiosk will be added in the spring.
2. Planning is currently underway for the upgrading of the West Bragg Creek parking lot .We anticipate seeing detailed plans in the very near future.