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The Waiparous Creek Bridge Project will be constructed in the summer of 2017. Recreational users should be aware of changes to this area, including road and recreational trail closures effective May 10, 2017 to August 30, 2017. Signage will be installed and there will be ongoing communication to the public through social media and on the Alberta Environment and Parks website.
Map of Area Closure
The 28-metre long bridge will be a permanent designated crossing for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and 4x4s. The service life of the bridge structure will be 75 years. It is being funded by the Fisheries Habitat Enhancement and Sustainability (FISHES) Program. The FISHES program aims to mitigate the effects on fish and fish habitat as a result of the flood and re-establish a healthy aquatic environment. The program presents a unique opportunity to facilitate recreation while managing for fish populations and habitat.
Access to the Waiparous Valley Road (from the Y junction to the bridge just past trail marker 119) and the temporary designated crossing at trail marker 119 will be closed from May 10 to August 30, 2017 for the bridge construction. In addition, the trail from marker 121 to 89 will be closed. If the construction is completed earlier, the area will be reopened for September long weekend.
The seasonal closure is due to public safety concerns associated with heavy equipment operations. The construction schedule is dependent on weather, timing of spring runoff, restricted activity periods for sensitive fish species and other factors. The construction schedule is subject to change. If there is no construction activity on site, the closure is still in effect as there should be no one recreating in this area until construction has been completed. Not respecting the closure could result in a fine.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
The Government of Alberta is working towards better management of its watersheds, including sustainable and responsible recreation in and around streams and riparian areas.
The construction of the bridge and related trail closures will help reduce the environmental degradation in this area. Waiparous Creek has been identified as critical habitat for westslope cutthroat trout, which are listed as threatened under the provincial Wildlife Act and the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA).
Due to the high volume of motorized users in this area, Waiparous Creek has experienced significant damage to fish habitat and riparian areas. Repeated vehicular crossings through a waterbody can change the form and function of a watercourse and impact downstream values (e.g. water quality).
Driving in watercourses can cause negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems and water quality by:
Alberta Environment and Parks encourages the public to recreate in a responsible manner when using the Ghost Public Land Use Zone and follow the regulations. For more information, go to aep.alberta.ca