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Alberta Hiking Association expands trail work in Pass

IMBA staff explains trail out slope and design characteristics to workshop attendees. Submitted photo.

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Jun 19, 2024

The Alberta Hiking Association applied for a separate grant to initiate similar efforts in the Crowsnest Pass. The project aims to recruit a local volunteer group to improve non-motorized trails

The Alberta Hiking Association (AHA), chaired by Don Cockerton, is expanding its trail improvement efforts to the Crowsnest Pass area. Formed in 2008, the AHA represents hiking groups across Alberta, primarily advocating for the hiking community to the provincial government and Parks Canada.

The organization is entirely volunteer-run and has recently seen significant developments due to the provincial government’s Trails Act. This legislation has re-engaged public lands officials in recreation trail management, leading to new grant opportunities. AHA successfully obtained a grant for a project in the Big Horn area, west of Rocky Mountain House, which involved recruiting and training volunteers to assess trail conditions.

Inspired by this success, AHA applied for a separate grant to initiate similar efforts in the Crowsnest Pass. The project aims to recruit a local volunteer group to improve non-motorized trails. The initial focus will be on rerouting the Star Creek Trail near the waterfall and constructing a new connector trail near Allison Falls. Additionally, the AHA will undertake preliminary planning for a more formal trailhead parking area for the Turtle Mountain Trail.

“What we hope to achieve is a successful group of people interested in non-motorized trails in the Pass area and they will work collaboratively with other like-minded groups to create and improve trail opportunities in the Pass and the surrounding region,” said Cockerton.

Jenice Smith, a resident of Blairmore for nearly 20 years, has been hired to coordinate these efforts. Smith brings extensive local knowledge and will work to attract volunteers willing to engage in trail construction and maintenance. The goal is to build a sustainable volunteer group that collaborates with public lands staff to enhance hiking opportunities in the Crowsnest Pass region.

“This past weekend, Alberta Hiking Association was busy in Crowsnest Pass attending the International Mountain Biking Association Trail Development Workshop. Working with a wide variety of multi-stakeholders and Government of Alberta Public Lands staff, we put hand tools to the ground on a non-motorized trail realignment,” said Smith, “AHA will be working on a couple of exciting trail projects this summer in Crowsnest Pass and will be looking for volunteers. If you have an interest in helping reclaim a couple of local hiking trails and being part of our Volunteer Trail Crew, contact”

 Cockerton emphasized the importance of working collaboratively with existing organizations to build a strong, engaged trail community.

Residents of Crowsnest Pass are encouraged to join these efforts. The AHA hopes to create a lasting impact by fostering a dedicated group of volunteers who will continue to improve and maintain local trails in partnership with public lands authorities.

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