By Jane Marshall
seejanewrite.ca

Did you know? This summer, construction begins on three new huts in southern Alberta.

First, the government of Alberta created two new provincial parks in our province’s most biologically diverse regions: Castle Provincial Park, and Castle Wildland Provincial Park. In total, that means over 103,000 hectares of protected land!

Now this year they’re teaming up with the Alpine Club of Canada to provide three backcountry huts in this exciting new location. The huts will provide shelter and cooking facilities so you can hike, bike, ski and snowshoe from hut to hut.

Hut Rendering 1
Photo: Alberta Parks

Where Exactly Are They?

The three new huts will be located in Castle Wildland Provincial Park.

Castle Map

What Will the Huts Be Like?

I chatted with Keith Haberl, marketing and communications manager with the Alpine Club of Canada, to get the scoop.

“The first hut is darned accessible and the access to it will be paved,” says Keith. “It will be a family friendly hut-to-hut adventure, which doesn’t currently exist. There will be 10km between huts.”

The huts will be identical in size, style and capacity, sleeping 12 total, dorm style. The Alberta government is still finalizing the design.

Rendering 2
Photo: Alberta Parks

What is the Terrain Between Huts Like?

The ACC’s executive director Lawrence White toured the site and commented that it’s not extreme terrain. It follows the valley bottom in the trees, with not too much elevation gain. It will be great for biking, and for people just getting into the backcountry world. And for those with more experience, there are hiking options that take you higher.

“The government seems keen to establish a real reason for people to visit the park,” explains Keith. “They want to protect the wild land there and the streams and area headwaters.”

Bike
Photo: Alberta Parks

When Will the Huts Open?

The Alberta government wants to complete the three huts by this fall — an ambitious, but exciting goal.

In an April 16 press release Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, said:

“Albertans love parks. Camping allows us to spend quality time with our families while also reconnecting with nature. These backcountry huts will expand the recreation opportunities available in the Castle region, attract new visitors and meet the growing demand for backcountry experiences in Alberta. We’re so pleased to be able to partner with the Alpine Club of Canada to bring this thrilling backcountry experience to the Castle area.”

Listen to the press conference here!

https://soundcloud.com/your-alberta/new-castle-parks-backcountry-experience-april-16-2018

The government will build the huts, then hand off operations to the experts — the Alpine Club of Canada, an organization that currently runs 33 huts across the country. It’s the first ever partnership of this kind.

 

To learn more:

Alpine Club of Canada blog

Global News