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Cougar Creek Canyon, Lady Mac closed for construction work on flood retention structure

The trail and canyon are temporarily closed to allow blasting work to be done safely for the Cougar Creek sediment retention structure.
Cougar Creek during the 2013 flood.
Cougar Creek during the 2013 flood.

CANMORE – Alberta Parks has once again closed Lady Macdonald and Cougar Creek Canyon as construction work continues on the Town of Canmore’s flood debris retention structure.

As of Sept. 11, Cougar Creek Canyon from the junction of Montane Trail and Lady Macdonald Trail upstream for about one kilometre, and access to the Lady Macdonald Trail was closed to facilitate blasting work.

Bridget Burgess-Ferrari, a spokesperson for Alberta Parks, said the department received a request from the Town of Canmore to temporarily close access to the Lady Macdonald Trail so blasting work can be safely done on the Cougar Creek sediment retention structure.

“The safety of visitors is our priority and, as there is only one access point to the trail, it will remain closed until the end of November,” she said, noting the Montane and Horseshoe trails are not affected by this closure.

The mitigation project for Cougar Creek was identified following the devastating June 2013 floods.

In Canmore, more than 220 mm of rain fell in just 36 hours – almost half of the town’s annual average rainfall – and debris flows damaged and destroyed homes along Cougar Creek and caused evacuation of about 1,200 residents in nearby neighbourhoods.

The Trans-Canada Highway, destroyed by Cougar and Carrot creeks, was shut down for several days. The Canadian Pacific Railway was also washed out.

As a result, the Cougar Creek flood mitigation project was originally approved by Canmore council in 2015 for $37.1 million. It has since jumped to $78.1 million for a variety of reasons, with funding coming from the Town of Canmore and provincial and federal governments.



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