The AHA attends Teck Coal’s Annual Trails/Public Access meeting

2016-06-23

The annual stakeholder Trails and Public Access meeting hosted by Teck Coal was held in Cadomin, south of Hinton, on 17 June. In addition to the Chair of the AHA and member Dan Kyba, the stakeholders in attendance included Cadomin residents, representatives of several Fish & Game Associations, the Alberta Native Plant Council, a Parks Steward for the Whitehorse Wildland Park and the Alberta Off Highway Association. Government officials included those from Alberta Environment and Parks, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, and Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, and the MLA Eric Rosendahl.

Of immediate interest to the AHA were discussions around access to certain trails outside the Whitehorse Wildland Park that have been closed due either to active mining in the Cheviot Mineral Surface Lease and/or to the lack of certification of reclaimed lands in the old Luscar and Gregg River coal mines. (Following completion of coal mining, the lands are reclaimed and application made to the government for certification. Once the lands receive certification, the Mineral Surface Lease is cancelled and the land reverts to the Crown as vacant public land. This process can take a number of years.) In the past, there has been conflict between the off highway vehicle users, and Fish and Game Associations, government departments and Teck Coal all of which are concerned with environmental protection of sensitive alpine areas as well as the integrity of reclaimed lands. As a result of consultations and focus group meetings, a Land Management Plan (LMP) was put in place in 2013 to outline in broad terms a long-term plan for the reclaimed lands once they are returned to the Crown. The government plan calls for restricted motorized access to designated trails such as the Mary Gregg Lake Trail, the Powerhouse Creek Trail and Cadomin Mountain, while hikers will be able to enjoy the Sphinx Creek Trail, the Gregg River Headwater Trail, Prospect Creek Trail and the Old Tower Trail. Mountain biking, horseback riding and cross country skiing will be permitted on designated trails only. No camping will be allowed. For more information email: sharad.karmacharya@gov.ab.ca.

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