Emerald Lake ski trails to remain open 0
A popular cross-country ski area in Yoho National Park has been saved thanks to an agreement between Parks Canada and several organizations that benefit from it remaining open.
Approximately 15 kilometres of track set trails and a 5K loop on Emerald Lake will be available this winter after Parks Canada reached an agreement with Emerald Lake Lodge, Kicking Horse Ski Club and Emerald Lake Sports and Gifts to oversee the maintenance of the trails.
The most popular day-use facility in Yoho National Park during the winter months, it was to be closed as part of the restructuring as Parks Canada trimmed services after recent funding cutbacks.
Jackie Thiessen of Parks Canada said the closure was a result of trying to maintain a high level of service during the spring and summer, where more than 87 per cent of visits to the park are recorded.
"We need to provide a higher level of service during the peak times and of course that meant a lower level of user services during the winter months," said Thiessen. "It was a cost-saving issue for us."
However, since the announcement of the closure of the Field office during the shoulder seasons, Parks Canada has been working with user groups in an attempt to provide some services during the winter.
The "memorandum of understanding" means Parks Canada will supply grooming equipment, training, servicing and avalanche safety advice while the volunteer user groups actively groom trails.
The groomed and track-set trails that will remain open are the Emerald Lake Shoreline Old Horse Trail and East Side, Emerald Lake Alluvial Fan Loop and a portion of the Emerald Lake Connector. The number of kilometres of groomed trials will be fewer than past years - 34K were track set last year - with the skiing season running from Nov. 15, 2012 to April 15, 2013.