COVID-19 in Canadian Rockies - Page 6 - ClubTread Community

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post #76 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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The last JNP community report Of April 24th stated things will remain closed to at least the 31st of May. But since the 24th the talk is that restrictions will start to ease up on May 31. The hotel I work for is preparing to open on June 1st. There is only one remaining comic case in Jasper and Yellowhead County has gone a few weeks with no new cases. Unless there is a Cargill style issue up here, I think itíll start opening up then, especially with Alberta easing restrictions. Alberta parks want people out enjoying the May long weekend and Jasper wants to keep people out of the park for the long weekend.

I spoke today with Parks official. First, there is no timeline for re-opening national parks. To quote "It all depends from the lady in Ottawa". Second, all parks will open together; and this applies beyond mountain national parks. So May 31 opening for JNP is not much more than hopeful thinking.


Personally I believe now Parks will re-open officially on July 1st. Why? Purely political reasons. Canada day, and it will look good. Happy Canada Day, we have beaten invisible enemy. We shall see.
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post #77 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 12:46 AM
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There was one article about whatever people did wrong. But no proof. Maybe they found a diaper somewhere. Overall the reaction to this COVID-19 has so many dire effects that the people responsible really have to reconsider what they are doing. The serious problems are not in the mountains.
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post #78 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Overall the reaction to this COVID-19 has so many dire effects that the people responsible really have to reconsider what they are doing. The serious problems are not in the mountains.

I agree. But it is easy to understand: Command from the top trickles down "Shut everything where people go". These decisions are made in offices far far away from the parks. One can even argue opposite effect -- people that would go recreate in mountain parks where there is lots of space, now recreate in city parks where space is much smaller, or even city streets (heard that Memorial Drive in Calgary had traffic altered so people can go jogging in social distancing manner) - so actually chance of spread is higher!


Whole covid response with "flatten the curve via social distancing" is separate topic. Future will show how correct it was. But there is growing number of people, incl. medical professionals, saying that no matter what 70% of population will get infected given enough time. One big benefit lockdowns are accomplishing is not overburdening medical system (hospitals, etc.) and this is important. But parks closures can be debated whether it was necessary or not.

Last edited by zeljkok; 05-03-2020 at 04:09 AM.
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post #79 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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May 02

Lake Minnewanka Road in Banff vicinity has been gated from the beginning of Parks Closures, but cycling is allowed. So I cycled Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff, and then Minnewanka Road to the lake. Quite a few of cyclists, and lots of cars parked in front of the gate (which should not be allowed). Cascade Pond was quite busy. Minnewanka totally deserted, and goats roam parking lots. Air is clearing and animals are reclaiming their space! On return cycled loop by Two Jack Lake. Johnston Lake road is closed because of Whirling Disease, sign says till May 14.

Minnewanka pano, beautiful clear air, can't remember last time lake was still iced in MayClick image for larger version

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post #80 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 07:12 PM
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Thank you Alberta Parks for opening your doors again. May 3rd, first griz of the season.
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post #81 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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I will never know where and how you get these guys. Amazing!
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post #82 of (permalink) Old 05-03-2020, 10:41 PM
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What a gorgeous animal! To my admittedly untrained eye, does not look really thin, though perhaps the folds in the coat indicate it has lost considerable weight.
lobo, do you recall, did the grizz have the silvery gray coat (plus violet and ochre) as shown in the image? The only specimen I have seen up close had red and gold highlights to myriad shades of chestnut brown.
Thanks!

Last edited by ColdBrook; 05-03-2020 at 10:42 PM. Reason: More colors!
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post #83 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 01:05 AM
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Thanks for your comments. I don't like hijacking threads because this thread is supposed to be about COVID and the how it affects the Canadian Rockies, but I like to post pictures just to let people know that life goes on and the Canadian Rockies are amazing. The grizzly is a typical silver tip about four years old. I couldn't determine if it's a male or female, but by its behaviour I would say female. To me it looked very healthy considering that it just came out of hibernation. Here are some more pictures of it. I had this bear all to myself for over an hour and I took 275 pictures. LOL.
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post #84 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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I don't like hijacking threads because this thread is supposed to be about COVID and the how it affects the Canadian Rockies

You know, I am all for staying on topic, but I don't think anyone in his sane mind will complain when you have such killer shots! But ok, to put things back "on topic" --- how will bear population be affected by current situation?

Question is not academic: We already know there will be no tourists this season, at least no out of country tourists, and nobody knows if vehicle access restriction will be lifted and when. Bottom line: Human presence will be substantially reduced. Does that mean more bears migrating from back-country? More bears on Icefields, or even coming within Jasper or Banff city limits? We can already see changed animal behavior in Rockies even if balance has been just slightly tipped for very short time.

Last edited by zeljkok; 05-04-2020 at 01:34 AM.
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post #85 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 10:49 AM
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How will bear population be affected by the current situation? I don't think bear population will be affected at all by this, but possibly reduced bear death by vehicular accident. Poachers will still go out because the law means nothing to them anyway. In the last decade especially I've really had a chance to study grizzly behaviour and it truly is fascinating watching them. Grizzlies simply don't care about humans and their activities, such as coal mine activity, people going by on quads or cars or even hikers going by. Grizzlies will do what they please. And grizzlies like all other wildlife are thriving in Jasper and the eastern slopes. Grizzlies are being spotted east of Edson, which is remarkable. I know that the the Foothills grizzly Project people would completely disagree with me, but for those guys to get to fly around in helicopters and shoot grizzlies with tranquillizers they have to paint a picture of doom and gloom, that's how they get to keep their jobs. If they say that the grizzly population is sound, there goes their funding. I was talking last year to a wildlife biologist that works for the local coal mine south of Hinton and she told me that there are ten grizzlies, ten cougars, two wolf packs with one pack having fourteen wolves and the other has nine, hundreds of elk and sheep and deer all living harmoniously on the mine property. Moose has a very strong population as well. Everywhere I hike in either Jasper, western BC and the eastern slopes of the Rockies, you are guaranteed to see bear, wolf and moose tracks. I went on a hike in MT. Robson PP three days ago where I would have had to wallow through waist deep snow if not for the moose that made wonderful tracks for me.
Thanks to the pine beetle our forests are slowly returning to stasis. We just need some forest fires to clear out the damage created by forest mismanagement and maybe within a few decades our forests will be the way that they should be and the wildlife won't need to walk highways and cutlines to get to where they want to go.
As far as wildlife entering towns, yes there is much more deer and elk within the townsite and JPL where I work. There always has been, but there is more than normal for sure. Last year a young grizzly was put down in Jasper and one grizzly was put down in Hinton. The picture of the grizzly below was one that bluff charged me while I was walking down a logging road a couple of years ago. Last year that same bear and his sister ended up in town and he had to be put down and the sister was relocated. That kind of stuff has been going on forever. The moose picture I took while hiking up at Rock lake last week and the lynx was taken last year.
So, wildlife populations are doing well and whether the COVID situation has any effects, I doubt that it will. Just my two cents.
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post #86 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 01:59 PM
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Fish Creek Provincial Park is now open in Calgary. I was wondering if Kananaskis was now open, it being a provincial Park? I was thinking of going to Prairie Mtn. by Elbow Falls and I know there was a conservation officer there stopping people in the past.
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post #87 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Fish Creek Provincial Park is now open in Calgary. I was wondering if Kananaskis was now open, it being a provincial Park? I was thinking of going to Prairie Mtn. by Elbow Falls and I know there was a conservation officer there stopping people in the past.
All Alberta Provincial parks are now officially open & that includes Kananaskis area. I haven't been in person to Elbow Falls/Prairie Mtn. Trailhead, but there is no reason why Hwy66 past Bragg Creek should still be gated.

If you go, can you post us few words/photos how it looks now?
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post #88 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 04:15 PM
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Fish Creek Provincial Park is now open in Calgary. I was wondering if Kananaskis was now open, it being a provincial Park? I was thinking of going to Prairie Mtn. by Elbow Falls and I know there was a conservation officer there stopping people in the past.
Yes, as of May 1st (although in some places it took a day or two to take down signs and such), trailheads and parking lots in Provincial Parks and PRA's are open. Facilities like washrooms and garbage collection are limited (I hear some washrooms are open, but are "use at your own risk"). Campgrounds are not yet open. Social distancing rules are still in effect (and you can still be fined)


That being said, Alberta Parks (and Dr. Hinshaw) are asking folks to not treat this as a free for all and to refrain from travel where you can. Canmore and Banff are still effectively "closed"
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post #89 of (permalink) Old 05-04-2020, 04:19 PM
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I spoke today with Parks official. First, there is no timeline for re-opening national parks. To quote "It all depends from the lady in Ottawa". Second, all parks will open together; and this applies beyond mountain national parks. So May 31 opening for JNP is not much more than hopeful thinking.


Personally I believe now Parks will re-open officially on July 1st. Why? Purely political reasons. Canada day, and it will look good. Happy Canada Day, we have beaten invisible enemy. We shall see.
That wouldn't be so bad, but selfishly hoping it will be a few days before that (I start the GDT in Waterton on June 27th)
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post #90 of (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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I can confirm now Spray Road has been re-opened. Parks Vehicle that was idling for over a month above Quarry Lake parking is no longer there. Barricade at Nordic Centre entrance is also gone, and Electric board (top of this thread) now instead of "Covid-19 Do Not Enter" says "Covid-19 Do Not Liter". In addition to "Practice Social Distancing" and "Limited Services Only".


So AB Parks are open indeed. But they could just so easily be closed again if people start swarming without following guidelines. So please if you read this and plan visit, keep this in mind. And if you see someone not behaving properly, give them crap. Majority of us that follow rules should not have to pay price for few that don't.


Thank You AB Parks!
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