“Due to social media, due to the reputation of the outdoor and a wide range of other reasons – the Highwood has develop into incredibly, really well-liked.”
KANANASKIS Region – Alberta Parks hopes survey knowledge collected at a preferred desired destination for out of doors enthusiasts in Kananaskis Region will assistance shape foreseeable future techniques to much better realize and control the amount of readers to the spot.
Debbie Mucha, Kananaskis West region supervisor with Alberta Parks, stated the Highwood Move – Canada’s highest paved street at an elevation of 2,206 metres earlier mentioned sea level – has skilled regular use in excess of the yrs, with late summertime and early fall months considering the fact that the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic remaining the exception.
“Due to social media, because of to the acceptance of the outside and a variety of other factors – the Highwood has develop into quite, quite common,” mentioned Mucha in a latest presentation to Kananaskis Improvement District (Child) council.
“We’ve constantly experienced reasonably constant use of the highway but it is really gotten to a issue where we genuinely really don’t know what to do with the freeway any more.”
Whilst the part of Highway 40 from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park to the Highwood Junction is shut to car or truck site visitors just about every calendar year from Dec. 1 to June 14, the Highwood Pass can glimpse a lot different for the duration of peak periods in the remaining months with trail and trailhead congestion, overcrowding and parking becoming predominant issues in the latest a long time.
Through larch period in particular, Mucha likened the Highwood Move to “Black Friday at Walmart.”
“Except it is every single weekend,” she reported.
According to Alberta Parks, there were a lot more than 3.4 million readers from January to September 2022. Above 450,000 of individuals frequented K-Region in September alone.
Ptarmigan Cirque’s somewhat smaller trailhead parking lot saw massive traces of parked cars spill over on to the freeway in the course of a person significantly busy weekend at the finish of September. For much more than one-and-a-50 % kilometres, cars lined each sides of the highway, stretching to the south all the way to another popular trailhead parking place.
During larch season last fall, a selection of steps ended up in location to help community basic safety including reduced velocity limitations together the Highwood Move on weekends, more parking controls and a lot more employees deployed in the place.
Alberta Parks has been finding out visitation styles to notify a long term visitor management tactic that supports the customer practical experience whilst continuing to protect the location for foreseeable future generations, including generating conclusions about parking and trailhead accessibility.
A user survey, spearheaded by Kananaskis Parks scheduling direct Peggy Holroyd, was executed in-man or woman in the course of peak visitation intervals in the Highwood Pass in the summer season and drop of 2022. It gathered info from about 360 functions, symbolizing 1,218 whole respondents.
Surveyors asked a wide range of inquiries about visitors’ journeys, which include what actions they prepared to take part in, exercise skill stage, how normally they stop by the space, and any components they experienced through their visit that afflicted it positively or negatively.
Other issues were asked to gather demographics information and facts, such as visitor age, gender, instruction, household profits, and where by people were traveling to from.
In a modern presentation to Kid council, Holroyd stated the survey uncovered a need to establish customer use administration techniques to handle troubles such as inadequate regulate of parking further than whole lot dimension, inadequate services for existing use and degradation of designated trails.
Having said that, she stressed it was not done with the intent of pursuing any one particular venture.
“This is baseline exploration into some social sciences to understand use and experience, and it is not about a unique initiative that we are pursuing,” she instructed council. “I have my individual interests utilizing it to fully grasp visitor management strategies, significantly during that September-October period of time.”
Of all those surveyed in the months of September and October, in the course of larch period, about 25 for every stated they skilled a lack of parking in the course of their check out. One more 20 for each cent found the place to be much too crowded, though 15 for each cent explained they felt there was a lack of features these kinds of as washrooms.
The variety of respondents that explained favourable activities, on the other hand, outweighed the variety of negative. 30-8 for every cent of respondents claimed they expert effectively-created parking and road access throughout their pay a visit to within just the same period.
Of those surveyed for the duration of each individual time interval, most ended up employing the space for climbing and sightseeing applications. Even though the freeway was closed in June, 91 per cent of users were in the place to road-bicycle.
Persistently, over 75 for every cent of folks explained they liked the ‘wildness’ of the Highwood Move spot, even all through peak visitation moments, even though lots of also claimed damaging encounters with sounds from people today and overcrowding in the slide.
On active weekends, Parks officers observed parking overflowing on to the highway from complete trailhead parking loads, as well as vehicles parked on vegetation and into treed parts, in some cases.
Kid council has previously reviewed the thought of utilizing seasonal community transit in K-Country to relieve site visitors and parking pressure alongside the Highway 40 corridor and addressing ecological concerns with growing or setting up much more parking a lot.
“As any person who’s quite fascinated in transit and transportation in the Kananaskis area, I imagined some of the statistics on obtain to trailheads and roadside congestion have been fascinating and elevate all kinds of queries about the type of infrastructure that we will need to support visitors,” explained Coun. Darren Enns in response to the study results.
“Is it creating far more parking plenty or is it setting up much better accessibility? Those are fantastic queries that I imagine we’ll have in the potential as a council.”
An forthcoming feasibility research will much better determine the have to have for public transit and impact to readers, with thought for the Highwood Go and other common websites together Freeway 40.
In a assertion to the Outlook, Ministry of Surroundings and Secured Spots communications advisor Bridget Burgess-Ferrari reported the province is fully commited to supporting beneficial customer encounters although continuing to guard the area for foreseeable future generations to get pleasure from.
“A future visitor administration strategy would look for to tackle present challenges and guidance good visitor experiences though maintaining ecological values,” she reported.
The Community Journalism Initiative is funded by the Authorities of Canada. The placement covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Country and Kananaskis Nation.