The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association achieved a very successful 2015 work season.
Volunteers contributed 9087 hours of work and $172,000 of donations were spent on dozens of projects to construct, upgrade and maintain the West Bragg Creek trail network.
All-Season Trails (Hiking, Biking, Equestrian and Snowshoeing)
- The 4.7 km Snakes & Ladders trail was constructed to link Ranger Summit to Ridgeback trails. The trail and a new bridge was built with a combination of a mini-excavator, a back-hoe supplied by Spray Lakes Sawmills and the hand labour of over 100 different volunteers.
- 1.6 km of Demi-Tel trail was upgraded with significant drainage and tread repair work.
- 0.8 km of Snowshoe Hare (west) trail was received major drainage and tread reconstruction.
- East Telephone Loop got an additional 0.8 km of drainage work and tread improvements to complete the upgrades that were started in 2014.
- Trail repairs and ongoing maintenance was completed at 15 sites on Braggin Rights, Long Distance, Boundary Ridge, Ranger Summit and Strange Brew trails.
Cross Country Ski Trails
- The 4.1 km Hostel Loop was extensively upgraded for improved drainage, better snow capture and retention, a smooth tread and a short re-route to reduce an overly steep hill.
- The new 0.3 km Hostel Meadow trail was added, to create a new teaching/training area and a novice skate ski loop.
- The lower 1.3 km of Lower 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.
- About 1.0 km of Moose Connector was widened to allow it to be groomed for skate skiing and proper drainage was installed at the site of a spring flowing out tread on a hill. A 200m easy alternate link between Mountain Road and Moose Connector was added.
- A total of 4.0 km of Sundog Loop and East Crystal Line were re-graded to improve drainage, smooth and level the tread, and widen portions to ensure that the trails are wide enough to be groomed for skate skiing.
- Three new culverts were added on Mountain View trail, to replace ineffective drainage swales. The trail was also re-graded to smooth and level the tread.
- Iron Springs, Middle Crystal Line, Bunny Loop, Chickadee Loop , Loggers Loop and portions of Moose Loop had encroaching or 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.
- 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.
- A 3.6 km Spray Lakes Haul road was tied into the existing Moose Loop and Mountain Road trials and was trial groomed to evaluate it’s potential to become Mountain View West XC ski trail. Despite a difficult snow season, it proved to be a great ski trail!
- The new 0.7km Whitetail trail was added between Snowshoe Hare and Long Distance to provide an easier alternative to Braggin Rights, with significantly better snow retention for snowshoeing and winter fat-biking.
- Snowshoe Hare was re-routed at 6 sites, totalling about 0.5 km . The re-routes moved the trail out of marshy areas, areas of poor snow retention and overly steep slopes onto terrain that provide better snow capture, easier grades and more sustainable ground.
- A 300m section of Snowy Owl tread was levelled by filling in braided trenches that resulted from summer cattle traffic. Another 50m of awkward side-hill was also levelled to improve safety.
Grooming and Maintenance Equipment
- A Japanese KEI-Class 4WD, track-converted truck was purchased to increase the capacity of the GBCTA to groom ski trails. This proved to be more reliable and capable than the two snowmobiles which are still part of our fleet of grooming equipment. The truck also has quad-style tires for summer work on the trail network.
- A Suzuki Quad and trailer was also purchased to facilitate trail work.
- A ROKON 2WD motorcycle and bob-trailer was purchased to provide maintenance support on the single-track all-season trails. The ROKON is also used in the winter to pack and groom snow on all-season trails, to facilitate fat-biking.
- The inventory of trail tools including, Pulaskis, McLeods, shovels, rakes and pruning saws was increased to supply a significant increase in volunteer trail crews.
- Volunteers also supplied personal tractors, brush mowers, harrows, chain saws, power drills, a quad, generators, a stump grinder and a skid-steer to support trail maintenance and construction.
Trail Centre/Warming Hut
An oilfield service company donated a 50’ X 12’ manufactured “tool-push” building to the GBCTA. This structure is being converted into a warming hut and trail centre. It will be used as a pilot project to determine the viability of a future permanent trail centre building.
- The existing “ski patrol shed” will be converted into a storage shed for trail maintenance equipment.
- An official opening celebration was held on September 12, 2015 to mark the substantial completion of new trail construction as outlined in the West Bragg Creek All Season Trails Plan.
- Two plaques were unveiled at the West Bragg Creek parking lot, to honour the volunteers and donors who contributed to the creation of the West Bragg Creek trail system.
West Bragg Creek All-Season Trails Plan Background and Update
- Six years ago, the West Bragg Creek trail system consisted of 46 km of XC Ski trails that were build 30 years earlier out of a pre-existing network of logging haul roads, energy industry roads and cut-lines. The trails were not maintained for summer use, so they were boggy, rutted and increasingly overgrown.
- In 2009 the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA), under a Partnership Agreement with Alberta Parks, developed the West Bragg Creek All-Season Trails Plan to improve the existing ski trail network and add an entirely new network of purpose-built all-season trails. The twin goals were to improve the trail user experience, while minimizing or reducing the environmental impact of recreational use.
- Following a public input process, the plan was approved by the Alberta Government in 2010. The implementation of the Plan was led by the GBCTA in partnership with Alberta Parks, the Friends of Kananaskis Country, the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance and many, many volunteers and donors.
- Over $820,000 has been raised and expended from a variety of sources, mostly non-government. $172,000 was raised and spent in 2015.
- Over 21,000 volunteer hours has been contributed by hundreds of volunteers accomplishing an extensive variety of tasks and providing donated equipment and services. 2015 was our biggest volunteer year, with over 9,000 hours of volunteer work being provided!
- 72 km of new trails have been constructed. This includes 49 km of all season trails (for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and snowshoeing), 15 km of snowshoe trails and 8 km of cross country ski trails.
- 25 km of ski trails have been repaired, drainage upgraded, re-brushed, rerouted or widened. This includes: Hostel Loop, Sundog, Crystal Line, Loggers Loop, Elbow, Moose Connector and Telephone Loop.
- East and West Crystal Line , Sundog and south Moose Connector ski trails have been widened to create 8 km skate ski trails. Drainage and tread was repaired to make these trails sustainable.
- Several easy ski loops were created on East and West Crystal by constructing reroutes to avoid steep hills.
- East Telephone trail has been repaired and upgraded for the first 6 km to a year-round multiuse trail. In the summer, it is dry for hiking, biking and horseback riding. In the winter, it is groomed for shared use, with XC ski tracksetting on one side and fat-biking, snowshoeing and hiking on the other.
- 23 new bridges have been constructed over water courses.
- 60 culverts with associated drainage improvements have been installed on ski trails and East Telephone multi-use trail.
- 1,500 blaze markers and nearly early 200 new map signs and trail name signs were purchased and installed by volunteers.