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West Bragg Creek trails suffer damage in recent wind storm

Despite the considerable damage to West Bragg Creek’s trail system and ongoing clean-up efforts in the area, people have continued to flock to the popular multi-recreational area to hike, bike, cross-country ski, and snowshoe, according to Conrad Schiebel, president of Bragg Creek Trails (BCT) – the volunteer organization that builds and maintains the trail network.
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The Dec. 1 wind storm toppled hundreds, if not thousands, of trees, bringing down power lines and causing days of power outages in Bragg Creek.

Visitors to the West Bragg Creek Trail system are urged to check the status of trails online before heading out, following a recent wind storm that felled thousands of the area’s trees.

High winds on Dec. 1 resulted in long-lasting power outages and damage to critical infrastructure in several southwest communities in Rocky View County, including Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation.

Despite the considerable damage to West Bragg Creek’s trail system and ongoing clean-up efforts in the area, people have continued to flock to the popular multi-recreational area to hike, bike, cross-country ski, and snowshoe, according to Conrad Schiebel, president of Bragg Creek Trails (BCT) – the volunteer organization that builds and maintains the trail network.

Clean-up of the downed trees and debris is expected to last well into January, according to Schiebel.

“We got pretty substantially hit out here, we're still in the clean-up mode,” he said. “Most of the ski trails have been cleared off now and now we're just working on the narrow trails that are harder to get to.” 

Roughly a thousand trees came down in the trail network, Schiebel estimated, but Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) officials stepped up to help local volunteer crews fix up and get many of the paths back into shape.

Local members of BCT sustained damage to their own properties during the wind storm, Schiebel said, which was their priority in the days immediately after the storm. Soon after dealing with their own situations, they were able to get out onto the trails.

While the majority of the core trails are fixed, crews are still working on more distant trails that are harder to get to.

“I don't see those totally cleaned up until mid-January or later,” Schiebel said.

To find out which trails remain closed, visitors are asked to check BCT’s website – braggcreektrails.org – for updates. The organization is also requesting people keep off the trails that are still not re-opened.

With trail users continuing to run into clean-up crews working with chainsaws, Schiebel said he noticed that people are still not checking for trail statuses online, leading to some frustrations.

In some cases, he said visitors were lifting their bikes over downed trees and climbing over, which can be dangerous with trees shifting, releasing on their own, and possibly falling on them.

“Trying to pass through trails that are totally covered with debris and trees falling over is a dangerous situation,” he said.

“That's why we were so quick to respond, to at least open the core trails so people coming out had some place to go.”

 



 
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