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Crandell Mountain Campground FireSmart Strategy and Updates

2019-2022 | Waterton Lakes National Park, AB

In September 2017, the Kenow Wildfire burned roughly 20,000 hectares in Waterton Lakes National Park. The wildfire impacted about 38% of the park and destroyed the Crandell Mountain Campground. 

Parks Canada Agency (PCA) scheduled the campground to be rebuilt as part of PCA’s Road to Recovery program. They recognized that they had a rare opportunity to re-imagine the campground to accommodate new wildlife corridors, improved trail systems, accessibility guidelines, and vegetation strategies to promote regrowth and resiliency. 

McElhanney was engaged in 2019 to support PCA’s commitment to welcome campers back to the Crandell Mountain Campground.  Members of McElhanney’s engineering and landscape architecture teams joined together to make PCA’s goal a reality.  

A key component of the project’s vegetation strategy included the application of FireSmart best practices. Using tools like the FireSmart BC Landscaping Guide, McElhanney landscape architects balanced considerations like plant flammability, native species, and pollination priorities in ways that increased the campground’s wildfire resiliency. The 2017 wildfire was vivid in the minds of project team members as they incorporated priority zones through the re-imagined Crandell Mountain Campground FireSmart strategy. 

McElhanney provided:

  • Campground layout and design
  • Road and trail design for a new gravel parking lot and gravel multi-use pathway 
  • Sanitary (including distribution and treatment through septic fields) 
  • Water (including a new well, reservoir, treatment, distribution, and fire protection), well water treatment system with filters, UV, and chlorine treatment (in a Seacan format), HDPE waterlines 
  • Electrical conduits for off-grid electrical site servicing (including distribution and solar / generator power) 
  • Construction management  
A black and white engineering drawing of a campsites situated on a looping road. Two orange-shaded, concentric circles surrounded the structures in the drawing.