Ha Ling trail closure extended to October

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CANMORE – Ha Ling trail will be closed until the beginning of October to allow crews to continue to improve and upgrade the popular Kananaskis Country trail.

The trail was initially expected to be closed intermittently throughout summer; however, at the beginning of August, Alberta Parks announced a full closure of the trail to allow heavy equipment and crews to work in the area.

The closure was extended a second time in late August and it will remain closed to all users until the first week of October.

“The project is on track,” said Jodi Reade, the infrastructure team lead for Kananaskis.

She said the contractor hasn’t encountered any major surprises, however, heavy smoke from nearby wildfires made it unsafe for contractors to breathe in August.

“There was always going to be intermittent closures until October, it was just decided that due to the safety of visitors as well as crews, and in order to keep on track with this project, the full closure would be extended to October,” said Reade.

The full mountain closure means access is not permitted on hiking trails and climbing routes on Ha Ling because the project includes rock blasting, tree removal and rerouting sections of the trail.

She said the exact date for the trail to be reopened hasn’t been set yet, but she remains “optimistic” it will reopen during the first week of October.

“Obviously, September weather will play a big factor in that,” said Reade.

In addition to improving Ha Ling Trail, Upper and Lower Grassi Lakes will remain closed until Sept. 26 to allow construction crews to repair the road below Whiteman’s Pond.

Construction work includes repairing the gabion wall that helps support the road directly above the Grassi Lakes hiking and climbing area.

Spray Lakes Road is still open during construction, but traffic is reduced to a single lane with alternating traffic. Expect substantial traffic delays from the bottom of the road to the top at Whiteman’s Pond.

To reduce the rock hazard to climbers and hikers, the Grassi Lakes climbing area is closed, however, access routes to Ryders of Rohan and the front of Ha Ling Peak via Whiteman’s Pond dam will remain open.

The hiking trails from the Grassi Lakes day use area trailhead to the northeast shoreline of Lower Grassi Lake will also remain open.

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Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke has spent the past four years working as a community news reporter in Jasper, Banff and Canmore. Prior to moving to the Rockies he cut his teeth as a breaking news reporter for the Toronto Star and has since won several community newspaper awards.