A beloved spot for Cochranites to spend an afternoon will close next month and won't reopen for another year.

Big Hill Springs Provincial park, which is located 10 kilometres northeast of Cochrane, will undergo extensive upgrades over the next 12 months.

Included in the renovations will be upgrades to all parking areas, picnic areas and the trails in the park.

According to an advisory posted on the Alberta Parks website, the park needs to completely close during the work because of its small size.

A map posted on the provincial website shows that the trail upgrades will include the creation of two new loops, a refurbishment of the main creek trail, and the decommissioning of a trail that leads outside of the park's boundary. 

The park will reopen again in August 2021 to ensure replanted areas are well-established before visitors return.

A map shows the planned upgrades and changes to Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. (Alberta Parks)

Big Hill Springs is typically open year-round and features waterfalls, the ruins of a fish hatchery and creamery, and unique rock formations called tufa — a limestone that forms when water pours over a cliff or bubbles up from a spring and evaporates under certain conditions, leaving calcite to crystallize and build up mounds of rock.

For more information on the closure and what's being done during the upgrades go here.