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Yamnuska Trail Refurbishment

2020-2021 | Kananaskis, AB

The Yamnuska recreation area in Alberta’s Canadian Rockies offers breathtaking views, hiking trails, and climbing. Avid hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world visit this area in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. As the popularity of the Yamnuska recreation area grew over recent years, so did the number of rescues; annual averages ranged from 50-80 and gave no indication of decreasing. 

Alberta Forestry, Parks, and Tourism wanted to improve public safety through a well-designed, logical, and clearly delineated trail system. The new trail network would cater to three main trail user groups; hikers, scramblers, and climbers. One of the primary goals for the project was to reduce the amount of trail braiding and environmental impact on the area by reducing the number of user-created trails. A secondary goal of reducing annual rescues would also be served by a well-designed, logical, and clearly delineated trail system. 

Through a decision-making process that incorporated the goals of parties representing trails, planning, public safety, ecology, conservation officers, and management, a trail route was chosen. Improved signage and wayfinding at the start of the trail and throughout each route would be incorporated to educate users on what to expect, and to provide clear directions. McElhanney provided an initial analysis of existing trails that utilized technologies including LiDAR data, geotechnical reviews, and avalanche services to establish constraints around potential configurations.  

The new trails meet the needs of each distinct user group by minding the goals and experience level of the end users. Users will also be pleased to know that in the year following the opening of the new trails, rescues decreased from 50-80 annually to a whopping total of three.  

McElhanney provided:

  • Wayfinding and informational signs  
  • Construction administration of the trails, signs, and all associated components  
    • Completion of concept design and presentation at the Kananaskis Trail Committee
    • Coordination of Avalanche Risk Assessment  
    • Detailed field review with ecology, public safety, and trails  
    • Completion of detailed design for the trail alignment  
    • Detailed design and drawings for stone steps, cable ladders, trail cross sections, signage plan, rest node plan and design and trail map 
    • Tendering services including bid form sheet and tender documents  
    • Construction management, inspections, and construction admin 
Yamnuska Trail Refurbishment
Yamnuska Trail Refurbishment - new climbing crag signage
Yamnuska Trail Refurbishment - new signage