Alberta Parks update

March 27 @ 10 pm

I know this is already old news, but below is what was posted on the Live Grooming Reports and goes into effect at midnight tonight.

“Vehicle access is temporarily suspended at access points to Alberta’s provincial parks and recreation areas for recreation purposes until further notice. The restrictions are in place to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

If a car is required to access a park or recreation area, these areas will not be available so make other plans. Although, walking, hiking, biking, horseback riding and off-highway vehicle use are still permitted on designated trails, access points will be limited.”

If I understand it correctly, the ski trails are still open, it’s just that you will require a helicopter to access them. 

Grooming in PLPP, Ribbon Creek, and Mt Shark has ended for the season, and maybe forever. 

Sorry for the late update, but I was skiing in PLPP until 8 pm. Last person on the trail. 

I’m disappointed to see the nastiness that this pandemic has brought out in people. Please don’t post personal insults in the comments. You can disagree without being disagreeable.


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  1. Thanks for the great insights Bob!

    Jeremy – you comments are completely misplaced and you are playing into media sensationalism. Please get off your high horse. We are all following AHS guidelines and will continue to do that. There are a few bad apples out there like any cross section of a population. Rules and laws need to be enforced, but don’t paint everyone with that brush. I was out in PLPP last weekend and the vast majority of the people I saw were genuinely out for exercise, spending time with immediate family and following the social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately as these closures continue we confine people into smaller and smaller areas.

    In a time like this exercise is critical. Mental health and the perpetuation of fear are real problems.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with individuals getting out and getting exercise in a responsible manner while following AHS guidelines, no one should be shamed for this.

    Taiwan, South Korea, etc. are great examples of what can be done with a little common sense and some basic protocols. (BTW – both these countries have significantly denser populations than Canada)

    Contrary to what you may believe it’s not necessary to lock yourself in your basement…

    • Scott- while my viewpoint on the situation aligns more so with yours, than with Jeremy’s- I think that he has stated his opinion calmly and respectfully, with no “high horse” or shaming intended.
      Now for something that I think we can ALL agree on. Everybody (I hope) wrote a letter regarding the “Optimization of Alberta Parks” to AEP Minister Jason Nixon, and received a response recently. For those who didn’t- my brief interpretation is that grooming by government staff on the affected trails is DONE. There is mention of “commencing to explore management partnerships” whatever that means, but what I take away from the vague response is that they don’t really have a plan at all. I think that if we want to see any grooming at all (whether by parks staff or contracted) next season at PLPP, Shark and Ribbon- it is time to re-double our efforts. It might be futile- but at least we tried.

      • Well said Steve. We really need to keep our advocacy for those trails up.
        I think the logic for the COVID-19 closure goes like this:
        -In order to keep the washrooms open, parks staff need to wear personal protective gear
        -Having the washrooms closed and having lots of people in the parks is a hygiene risk
        -We don’t know if our healthcare system will be overwhelmed and we’ll need all the PPE we can get for healthcare providers, so we’ll close the washrooms
        -As a result, we’ll close the parks.
        Of course, the crowds at a handful of popular day use areas (i.e. Elbow Falls) last weekend was a factor as well.
        Unfortunately, as a result of this closure, there’s going to be a lot of crowding in municipal parks, which is what we’re seeing now. People still need to get outside and exercise.

    • Amen to that!

  2. Potential unintended Kananaskis consequences: 1) carpooling drop offs when people were driving solo before; 2) people going for a “drive” and if they can’t pull into gated parking lots to turn around, u-turns on roadways, random roadside stopping, etc., like peak summer tourism in banff kind of mayhem; 3) people driving further to ski with no place to stay overnight and driving home tired in the dark; 4) parking overload on adjacent roadways/neighbourhoods (and a stay out of my hood/park response, fish creek for example); 5) concentration of people in municipal parks; 6) people living/working in parks accessing trails and getting slammed for it; 7) more police/CO/peace officer resources necessary to manage the above.

    • Or, MaSid, folks could stay home. This is a public health emergency. It requires individual sacrifice for the common good. The rules will be neither perfect nor fair, certainly at the individual level, but they are necessary and this is the best we can do. So, rather than looking for loopholes and parsing sentences for things we want to see; listen to the big message – stay home, limit outings to essential trips e.g., food, keep distance when out, etc. We were lucky that govt eased us into this. We had a good run; let’s be thankful for that (and that.I haven’t seen anyone on this group reported being sick). I was in Canmore few days ago. Didn’t leave trash, didn’t even piss in the woods. But that doesn’t matter. Decision has been made and now is the time for collective – and individual – sacrifice for the common good. This is a public health emergency.

  3. I was listening to Jason Nixon at his news conference and he stated that the trails are still open just the access point facilities and parking areas are closed. He said you could still access the trails if you have someone drop you off near the trailhead. Did anyone else hear this?

    Good question, Tom. I believe there’s some truth to this. I talked to the head groomer from Canmore and she said the CNC trails are still open but you would have to walk or, as you said, get someone to drop you off at the nearest point that’s accessible. I don’t know where Hwy #40 will be closed, if at all. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. -Bob

    • Highway 40 will be closed near Wedge to limit access to Peter Lougheed. Also the Spray Lakes Road just past CNC. These will
      be manned barricades .
      The message should be pretty clear by now you can get out and exercise just don’t drive to do so.

  4. Briony Williamson

    Great to see you out there tonight Bob! Hope you enjoyed the rest of your ski. Conditions were spectacular, if that’s our last ski for the season we have gone out on a beauty! Grateful for what we have been able to enjoy this season and am looking forward to the next with optimism.

  5. Ellen and Alpine Jimmy

    Go Bob!

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