Crowsnest Pass to see trail improvements this summer

Trail builders with Alberta Hiking Association use hand tools to improve a hiking trail. Photo by Don Cockerton

By Mia Parker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Alberta Hiking Association has received a $98,000 provincial grant to improve trails in the Crowsnest Pass area. This includes facilitating the recruitment and training of volunteers to help with the project.

Jenice Smith, an Alberta Hiking Association contractor, has been brought on as the volunteer co-ordinator using these funds, and looks forward to the benefits this project will bring for trail users.

“Crowsnest Pass is a destination for all different types of recreation users,” she says.

Locals and tourists alike make use of Crowsnest’s diverse trails for hiking, biking, running and much more. 

“These trails are important for residents and also visitors to the Crowsnest Pass, so it’s important to create trails that will withstand different weather events, take minimal maintenance and guide people in the right direction,” says Smith. 

Over the summer and into the fall, volunteer trail-building sessions will be held to welcome community members to help improve Star Creek and Allison Creek trails, both on public land.

Volunteers will receive on-site training and use various hand tools. They will help out with developing signage and creating switchbacks on steep and off-camber sections. The improvements will limit trail erosion and keep the paths sustainable and hiker-friendly. 

In making the funding application to the government, the association had heard some requests to enhance these hiking trails. They agreed this would be important to “promote opportunities for people to get out hiking and to connect to our natural environment.”

“When people have the opportunity to get outside and connect to the natural environment, they gain appreciation and value for those natural spaces,” Smith says.

The organization is also looking into a proposed bridge in the Allison Creek area, and will also be investigating additional access for Turtle Mountain trails for a future project.

Specific volunteer days have not yet been set, but those interested can reach out to Smith at to get involved.

The funding for this project was part of a larger Alberta contribution to trail improvements, announced May 24, totalling $1 billion to various organizations.

“Alberta’s recreational trails are enjoyed and valued by many generations,” said Forestry and Parks Minister Todd Loewen in the media release. 

“As an outdoorsman myself, I’m happy to see such strong uptake of this grant program by trail organizations across Alberta. Taking care of our land is a responsible thing to do and is very important to me.”

Other local organizations have also received funding, such as $116,400 to the Crowsnest Nordic Ski Club, $100,000 to Oldman Watershed Council and $48,336 to United Riders of Crowsnest.

The Ministry of Forestry and Parks did not respond to followup questions from Shootin’ the Breeze despite multiple attempts after the initial announcement.