Ha Ling trail should be repaired

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Editor: Re: New look visitor centre.

The letter mentioned the visitor who commented that the mountains were the same at Canmore and Banff. There is much truth in this for those who are satisfied to experience them from the ground or through a car window.

For 20 years there has been a unique opportunity for visitors and locals alike to experience something special here in the mountains, and at no special cost. I refer to the hiking trail to the summit of Ha Ling Peak.

To my knowledge, the Town of Canmore has not taken the opportunity to use this as a tourist attraction, yet word of mouth and local accommodation operations have resulted in hundreds of walkers enjoying this ascent every year.

The trail was built by the Trailminders of the Bow Valley, and opened to the public in 1988. The mountain face is hard, smooth, limestone and the builders ingeniously used dead trees, the roots and stumps of dead trees (this face had been logged earlier for pit props), and the rare loose matter, to form the trail.

It had a steady grade from the three winder steps at the top of the two zigzags – which were needed to enable the first long leg to be above the great rock cliff above the aqueduct.

Unfortunately, rotting wood and heavy use has destroyed some of this section, forcing hikers to drop down to where the material has lodged, then face a steep rise to rejoin the sound, original, route.

Kananaskis Country, the authority for the area, plans to install a new trail, hopefully beginning next year (2018). This work may well not be finished for a few years. Meanwhile, the degraded portions of the existing trail could be re-instated to their original line, and to professional standards, by using the successful type of construction that was installed by K-Country to cross the open rock slab – further along the trail – a few years ago. Helicopters were used, probably at considerable expense. This work could be carried out early next year.

So I am suggesting the Town of Canmore now contribute funds to encourage Kananaskis Country to enable this work to be carried out promptly. The town could then help promote this feature as a tourist objective.

Brian Carter,

Canmore

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