Update from Parks Canada June 28 at 9 p.m. Portions of Lake Minnewanka Road opens
Parks Canada is excited to welcome visitors to Banff National Park for the Canada Day long weekend. One of the most beautiful areas of the park, the Lake Minnewanka area is a great place for stroll, picnic, day hike or guided boat ride. Open areas include:
· Minnewanka Road - upper /northern section of the loop, to Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake and Johnson Lake Road. Note, larger vehicles can turn around at Johnson Lake;
· Upper Bankhead picnic area;
· C-Level Cirque Trail;
· Cascade Fire Road for 5km - the bridge at Km 5 is out due to flood;
· Lake Minnewanka picnic area;
· Lake Minnewanka for water commercial tourboats only
· Stewart Canyon Trail
· Minnewanka Lakeshore trail - caution to cyclists: the trail has sustained flood damage that will make this a challenging trail;
· Two-Jack Lakeside day use area;
· Johnson Lake day use and picnic area; and
· Johnson Lake Trail - north side only from the day use area to the dam at far end of lake (which is impassable).
Also, Two-Jack Lakeside campground will open tomorrow at 3 pm on June 29, 2013.
As a result of the recent floods, there are some restrictions in the area to protect public safety. These closed areas include:
· Lower /southern section of the Minnewanka loop Road - (due to road washout at gravel pit / overflow campground area);
· Cascade Ponds (due to the need to assess flood damage) ;
· Lower Bankhead (interpretive trail);
· Lake Minnewanka waters - closed to personal watercraft and SCUBA diving due to high water levels, low visibility and debris)
· Two-Jack Main Campground and Two-Jack Lakeside Campground;
· Johnson Lake Trail - south side; and
· Watertower mountain biking Trail
NEW Restriction - Lake Minnewanka spillway and dam
The water at Lake Minnewanka has reached high levels and water is being released through the spillway. A boom has recently been put in place to protect the spillway from debris and provide a buffer between boats and the dam.
For visitor safety reasons, restrictions have been put in place for visitors to the dam:
· No pedestrians allowed on the dam or spillway; and
· Motorists and cyclists are not permitted to stop on the dam or spillway unless yielding to traffic - this will help keep traffic moving and decrease congestion on the dam.
We thank the community and visitors for their patience and invite them to come and enjoy this special part of Banff National Park.
During your visit, please note that you may encounter construction zones and are advised to travel with extra care. For your own safety, and to protect others:
- respect all signs, fencing and traffic control personnel;- obey speed limits as posted;
- exercise caution when turning around or pulling over; and- be alert for wildlife on the road.
For more information go to: www.ParksCanada.gc.ca/Banff-update
Cycling and Hiking Opportunities
Cycling and day hiking opportunities abound in Banff National Park for the Canada Day weekend, says Parks Canada in their earlier flood recovery update. The most severe flooding damage occurred in the more easterly parts of the park. Further west to Lake Louise, and in Yoho and Kootenay National Parks, conditions improve significantly. Most trails west of Castle Junction are in good shape; however, please be aware that early season trail conditions still apply.
Although water levels are dropping, fording remains dangerous. Horse riders should be advised that there have been major changes within stream channels and former fords should be treated with caution. Many backcountry bridges have been washed away during the flooding.
OPEN & RECOMMENDED FOR CYCLING
Asphalted Roads or Trails
• Bow Valley Parkway (Fireside to Castle Junction & Lake Louise to Baker Creek)• Golf Course Road (to the sewage treatment plant)
• Sundance Canyon Road(between Cave & Basin and Sundance Canyon Loop Trail)• Tunnel Mountain Road and Tunnel Mountain Drive
• Vermilion Lakes Drive & Banff Legacy Trail WEST of town (connector to Bow Valley Parkway)Important Closure: The Banff Legacy Trail beside the Trans-Canada Highway remains closed from Rocky Mountain Resort to the Banff National Park East Gate, due to impassable sections. Cycling on the Trans-Canada Highway is not a recommended alternative at this time.
Mountain Bike Trails
• Cascade Trail to 4-Mile bridge• Healy Connector to Brewster Creek, to within 2km of Sundance Lodge
• Redearth to Lost Horse Creek• Spray River East side to Spray River Bridge
• Tunnel Mountain cycling trails (see brochure)• Upper Stoney Squaw
OPEN & RECOMMENDED FOR DAY HIKING
• Boom Lake• Bourgeau Lake
• Bow Glacier Falls• Bow Summit Lookout
• Eiffel Lake• Glacier Lake
• Ink Pots• Johnston Canyon (Lower and Upper Falls)
• Lake Agnes• Lake Louise Shoreline
• Lake Louise Tramline• Louise Creek
• Moraine Lake Shoreline and Rockpile• Plain of Six Glaciers
• Rockbound Lake• Twin Lakes/Arnica Lake/Gibbon Pass
• Sulphur Mountain Trail (Banff)• Tunnel Mountain and Hoodoos Trails (Banff)
Overnight backcountry camping opportunities in Banff National Park are limited by high water and loss of connecting bridges. Expect early season conditions: wet and muddy sections, snow at higher elevations. The following areas are accessible for backcountry camping (Wildernes Permits required): Glacier Lake, Norman Lake, Paradise valley, Shadow Lake (via Gibbon Pass only), Skoki Valley, Spray River (via Spray East connector trail only), Taylor Lake, and Twin Lakes; check at Information Centres.
Access Note: The popular backpacking areas of Egypt Lake and Bryant Creek did not suffer significant damage but are inaccessible due to road closures in Kananaskis Country and on the Sunshine Road. Egypt Lake is also currently not accessible from Redearth or Pharoah Creek due to the loss of bridges. Mount Assiniboine is not accessible via Mount Shark, Sunshine, or Simpson River Trail.
Check Parks Canada website for the latest information: www.parkscanada.gc.ca/Banff-update *http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/ne/neuf-news.aspx) Easy access to Banff National Park's Twitter feeds and Facebook page are available from this site.