Alberta Parks has issued an advisory that the Spray West campground and its surrounding area will be closed to accommodate construction activities between September 2023 and the end of June 2024.
According to the Alberta Parks website, the construction closures will be effective, Friday, September 1. While the campground closed earlier this week (August 25), as part of its seasonal closure, the construction will affect camping plans well into next year, as well as hiking trails.
"Spray West is one of the most popular first come, first served campgrounds in Kananaskis Country. We recognize the closure is inconvenient; however, it is necessary," Parks officials stated on the website.
Parks officials are underlining that the campground and trail access within the campground area will be closed during construction.
Closure Areas include:
- Spray West campground
- Spray West hiker-biker area
- Parking lots and informal day-use areas within the vicinity of the campground, including:
- The hiker-biker area is often used for overflow parking
- The informal parking area is often used as a trailhead for the Old Goat Glacier Route
- The informal day-use parking area at the southern end of the campground is often used as a trailhead for the Spray Road West Trail (sometimes referred to as Mount Nestor Route)
There will also be temporary intermittent trail closures to accommodate construction, which includes:
- High Rockies Trail (designated trail)
- Trans Canada Trail
Long-term trail closures to accommodate construction include:
- Spray Road West Trail (designated trail)
- Mount Nestor Route (non-designated trail)
- Old Goat Glacier Route (non-designated trail)
"There is no alternative for safe parking and trail access. Roadside parking is unsafe and will impede access for the construction vehicles hauling materials and equipment. Access for emergency response vehicles needs to remain clear without vehicles and pedestrian traffic."
According to Alberta Parks, because the province has committed to creating more campsites and improving high-traffic recreational areas, this includes the Spray West refurbishment project.
"[This will] ensure infrastructure meets current standards, improves public safety and supports positive visitor experiences."
The refurbishment project will, among other things establish a new layout for 65 campsites, which is an increase of 15 sites, improve existing washroom facilities, as well as designate areas for outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking and dog sledding. Other improvements include developing a firebreak and designating more than 34 hectares of land as habitat enhancement areas to protect wildlife and enhance public safety.
Conservation officers will enforce the area closure under the Provincial Parks Act and travellers are asked to follow all signage and not cross construction barriers. However, the Mount Shark Day use area with associated trailheads will remain open.
Spray Lakes West Campground is located in the Spray Valley Provincial Park, 16 kilometres south of Canmore on the Smith Dorrien/Spray Lakes Trail.