Eight new and expanded Conservation Areas on provincial Crown land including the 54,588 hectare Castle Wildland Provincial Park and the 34,356 Pekisko Heritage Rangeland.
An increase in tenure terms from 10 to 20 years for leaseholders with high-level stewardship management practices throughout any region where protection of intact native grasslands is needed.
Air and surface water quality management frameworks to help ensure negative trends are identified and assessed, and the environment remains healthy for residents and ecosystems.
Commitment to a Biodiversity Management Framework to support cumulative effects management of important elements of biodiversity that are affected by land uses in the region.
Regional trail system plan that will identify and designate winter and summer motorized, non-motorized and mixed-use land and water-based trails, routes, and areas that link communities, neighbourhoods, destinations and tourism areas.
Development of approaches to address the climate variability found in the region supporting flood risk management and drought management.
Endorsement of the Efficient Use of Land Principles and the release of the Efficient Use of Land Tools Compendium to encourage municipalities to minimize the amount of land taken up by the built environment.
It's a Party!
July is a big month in and around Bragg Creek. The the two main events are Bragg Creek Days and the Tsuu T'ina Pow Wow.
Bragg Creek Days
It has been a rough year for our community. Just over a year ago the flood of 2013 ripped through the hamlet wiping out several businesses and homes. Then the installation of water services ripped up roadways and placed a heavy burden on homeowners. Finally the construction of a new automobile service station in the shopping centre on Balsam Ave. left the centre of the community reeling from disruption and unsightly barriers and piles of building materials and equipment. But, this parade showed the true grit of local businesses and community groups who rallied to show residents and visitors alike that we know how to party like there is no tomorrow. There will be a tomorrow and a bright future for Bragg Creek.
After the devastating flood of 2013 and as the anniversary approaches, everyone is on edge. Could it happen again? Well almost. Bragg Creek and the Elbow River overflowed their banks, but it was nothing like last year. All the road repairs and embankments that were rebuilt remained intact. There was no apparent property damage and the Balsam Avenue bridge remained open.
A persistent rain overnight June 18 into June 19 caused minor flooding around Bragg Creek. The ground had become saturated and the level of water in the rivers was high. You can see in the chart at left a huge spike in river flow, but the snow pack remains at just a bit above high. The charts at left show the stream flow and snow pack charts from Environment Alberta's web site as of June 19, 2014 for the Elbow Valley. It appears that the storm is over and the water should subside going into the weekend. So come and check it out.
The flood of 2013 had a devastating effect on many of the favoured picnic areas and trailheads like Allen Bill Pond and Elbow Falls. But there are many other places to take your family and friends when you visit the Elbow Valley and West Bragg Creek
Whatever your preference for enjoying the trails, here's an interactive trail locator
Elbow Valley trails and facilities locator map
Explore this interactive map to find all the trails in the Elbow Valley, including the new trails in West Bragg Creek. Roll your mouse over the trails to find their names and length. You can also roll over the symbols on the map including the red dots for day use areas and the campground symbols to locate campgrounds and the number of campsites available there.
While hiking up the Boundary Ridge trail in West Bragg Creek I came upon 4 guys hunched over some stuff on the ground. As I passed I was surprised to see they were little OHVs - RC cars (remote controlled) about 40 cm long with gnarly tires and bodies that looked like Jeeps, a dune buggy and a hot rod. They were preparing to race them down the trail. Not something I would have ever thought I'd see in Kananaskis. I have a page where I list all the things I could imagine people might do in Kananaskis, 45 of them, but this wasn't on the list.
I received an anonymous letter recently stating that the energy industry was fracking in Kananaskis, specifically at two wells near the ice cave. The author suggested that Husky Energy would be addressing this issue at an Open House to be held at Jumpingpound Hall, May 14, 2 to 7 PM. The author cited numerous evils of fracking from medical impacts to earthquakes. In response to that Facebook posting, I got a call from Husky PR saying that they weren’t fracking Moose Mountain, had no plans to and that the Open House was to present their plan to build a trucking terminal for hauling oil. Hauling oil? I thought they were extracting gas. In my Facebook post I said, “Who knows what’s going on there?” Well now I do, at least where Husky is concerned. Their PR people sent a document detailing their activities in Kananaskis. You can read it here.
I’m not going to pick a fight with the energy industry in Alberta. That would be stupid. I’ve wasted enough time and effort on fighting logging in Kananaskis. But I can’t walk away from that fight as the damage Spray Lakes and ESRD are doing to my beloved Kananaskis is not only disgusting, it’s harmful.
Anyway, back to Husky. They need the oil trucking terminal, which they plan to build 2 km north of Kananaskis near Hwy 68, to move oil from the two shut-in wells they currently have and from another they plan to drill next year. They will expand their current facilities at one of their three existing pads to accommodate the new oil extraction.
Here’s Husky’s history in our backyard:
Husky has been active in the Moose Mountain area west of Bragg Creek, Alberta for more than 20 years. The company has, as a matter of regular practice, met with neighbours about its existing and planned operations.
In support of its business over the years, Husky took a phased approach to development since the 1992 discovery:
1993: Initiated environmental assessment and public consultation
1998: Two oil wells on Pad #3 brought into production through a pipeline
2004: Two sour gas wells at Pad #1 and #2 brought into production
2005: Additional sour gas pipeline from Moose Mountain to the Jumping Pound gas gathering system commissioned to allow concurrent production from both the gas and oil pads
2009: Two additional oil wells began production following construction of an oil facility at Pad #1
2010: Drilled horizontal oil well (12-23-023-07 W5M) from Pad #1, well completed in 2011
At one point a member of Husky’s PR department sat as president of the Elbow River Watershed Partnership. They have relationships with Kananaskis, Bighorn, the Stoney, Bow Valley Food Banks and the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association. Their industry has undertaken a long term study of their impact on wildlife and habitat and found that there is none. Their studies show that there are 23 mammal species, 79 songbird species and 190 insect species existing and thriving in Kananaskis. They plan to take another look at wildlife this year.
Living in Bragg Creek presents a variety of challenges that affect our way of living. Access to the Internet is a major challenge, as is a good cellphone connection. We take our garbage to the dump, have to pump and dispose of our water. We struggle to get gardens to grow during a short 90-day growing season. We drive a long way to get anywhere and we usually need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get there. On the way there are icy roads and the ever-present threat of a deer or moose crashing into our cars. As most of us live on acreages we usually have long driveways to clear of snow, which at times can be quite heavy. For example my driveway is about 300 metres long. For the first 17 years I lived here I used a snow blower and relied on my neighbours who share the driveway to remove snow. But, this year, I decided I'm too old to spend hour after hour battling the blizzards and I bought a used ATV. With the help of a neighbour who is a motorcycle engineer we turned it into a snow plow. He installed a tapered snowplow blade, a block heater, new gnarly tires and I added heated handlebar grips. Check the video below to see how well it works.
Come out and enjoy Earth Day 2014 in Redwood Meadows
April 13th 2014!
Fun for the whole family, come and celebrate. Ethical Marketplace, Eco Education, Family activities, Earth Day Cafe, Cross cultural awareness, up-cycled crafts.
There is a big debate currently raging over the plan to build flood mitigation systems upstream from Calgary and more importantly, from Bragg Creek. Bragg Creek is on the frontline of this debate. We'll absorb the brunt of the blow whether it comes from a flood or from a burst dam holding the water back. Our little community was wrecked on June 21 and we don't want it to happen again. So what is the solution?
Take a look at the way logging used to be. Certainly there were never trees of this size in Kananaskis. Our climate just can't make them like those in these photos of logging before chainsaws. I'm really upset that the forest in Kananaskis will disappear as we know it for 5 generations, but I actually don't have much a problem with logging areas that won't have a direct and indirect impact on a city of a million people. Any way this is worth a look just for old times sake. See photos of the way it used to be around the turn of the 20th Century. I don't know where these came from, but, they're here for your enjoyment
New and improved weather station
I installed a new weather station, a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 on Wednesday, January 8 and it started recording the temperature here in West Bragg Creek about a kilometre east of the Kananaskis boundary. It captures a lot more weather data; humidity, barometric pressure and when it rains, it will record how much. Then on Friday I got the mast for the anemometer installed on my roof and it started recording the wind speed. The weather station does this every 15 minutes.
I also got a new setup for the video capture of the Moose Mountain image on the weather page and in the upper left of this page. You can see it here: Bragg Creek Weather. The camera is the same, but the way it gets onto the web page has changed dramatically. I was using ancient technology, a Windows 98 computer with a "Snappy" video interface that fed the video image into an LPT1 printer port. You have to be a geek like me to appreciate that. There is a Twitter feed on the weather page that I use to report snowfall amounts.
I hope you'll rely on for your weather updates from Bragg Creek.
We don’t keep track of things very well anymore. Watching Facebook posts stream off the bottom of the screen seems like such a loss to me. I know nothing ever disappears from Facebook, but out of sight, out of mind. Geese, I sound like such an old codger. But, that is fitting for the subject. I want to draw your attention to a wonderful history about Bragg Creek. It is a tome titled, “Our Foothills" It was produced by the
Millarville, Kew, Priddis and Bragg Creek Historical Society
It appears that the book was edited by Mrs. K. Tosh and printed in 1975. Much of the Bragg Creek section was written by Freda Purmal. It’s a goldmine of information, but there was never a Gold Rush here, although coal was dug out of Ing’s Mine.
Other than the copy in the Glenbow museum and a few in the hands of some local families, the book is long out of print. I made a copy of the Bragg Creek section. You can find it here: http://braggcreek.ca/PDF/our_foothills_web.pdf
The photo of Ida May White’s Trading Store, shown here, was used in the book. It is owned and copyright by Barb Teghtmeyer, owner of the current Trading Post.
Elbow Valley Recovery
The long, difficult and costly recovery process is underway in the Elbow Valley and Bragg Creek. Many milestones have been passed; the opening of the temporary bridge on Highway 66, the reopening of Highway 758 in the hamlet, the cleanup of Elbow Falls and the businesses in Bragg Creek. Bragg Creek held the Heroes in the Sky and Scarecrow Festival events and we're looking forward to Christmas in Bragg Creek. But, we have a very long way to go.
The Tsuu T'ina nation voted to accept an agreement clearing the way for the completion of a ring road through southwest Calgary. It will connect Glenmore Trail at 37th St. to Highway 22X near Spruce Meadows. The nation will give up 460 hectares of land in exchange for $340-million and 2,150 hectares of land. They get 5,018 acres transferred to them with approval to purchase another 320 acres for $1.6-million. Read the media release. A large part of those 8.3 sections of land is known as the Jumpingpound lease which borders Bragg Creek. In fact it looks like the new reserve lands touch Kananaskis in the west, Hawkeye Ranch, Faun Hills, the Our Lady of Peace ranch and Wintergreen, connecting to the existing reserve in the east. I guess there will be a bunch of other properties bordering the reserve. Several ranchers have grazing leases on this territory which they paid for. So we can assume they will be compensated for the loss of the land. That's an additional cost not reported in the announced agreement. Other than that this shouldn't change much as there are lots of properties bordering the reserve and Redwood Meadows is on the reserve. As far as I know the Tsuu T'ina make good neighbours.
If you scroll down the page you'll see an idea for a second exit out of West Bragg Creek I proposed after the June flood. It runs over the new reserve lands. I wonder what the nation will think of that proposal.
This means we're cut off from Rockyview with the only open land to the south of us in the M.D. of Foothills.
The government has just released a draft of their South Saskatchewan Region Plan. They are almost ready to finalize their land use policy for southern Alberta. But first, they want one final consultation. They've been working on this for about 7 years. This plan will affect generations of Albertans yet to be born. In this plan they have identified Kananaskis as an "Iconic Tourist Region". The thing is there are two parts to Kananaskis, one for people and the other for industry. Two different government ministries have jurisdiction over Kananaskis. You can imagine what a cat fight that must be. But, you know, the one with the money always wins and that's not the one that represents the people.
The first annual Bragg Creek Scarecrow Festival officially began on October 4, 2013. Scarecrows have been popping up all over the hamlet. Brilliant, creative, beautiful expressions of folk art that enliven our community recently ravaged by a devastating flood. Many of the artworks refer to the flood with scarecrows sporting mud caked boots, water related subjects and the nod to insurance companies disputing claims. Others are tributes to our volunteer Redwood Meadows Emergency Services team who recently held the "Hero's in the Sky" fundraising event. The Banded Peak Primary school provided many of the scarecrows featuring fictional characters. Many businesses developed themes that reflect the products or services they offer.
Recovering from the latest "Flood of the Century" and planning for future extreme weather events is critical to our community. On October 4 the government let us have a look at their work-in-progress on flood mitigation. I'm no expert, but it is clear this is something we need to pay attention to. They have looked at everything from what happened, how to prepare, including building berms and other infrastructure to how to develop a family emergency response plan.
On June 20 as the surge of water flowing down the Elbow River ripped through the hamlet of Bragg Creek, taking with it tonnes of soil and gravel, it carved out a huge junk of the highway that extends beyond White Avenue and runs past the Trading Post store and Bragg Creek Provincial Park. A massive rebuilding operation has been underway since early July. The road was originally scheduled to be opened in November, but Transport Alberta and Volker Stevin pulled out all the stops and the road has been reopened in just 100 days after it was destroyed.
With the road open it is now much easier to get to the Provincial Park. Drive down White Avenue and keep going, past the river, until you see the park sign.
Literally, with the picnic area at Elbow Falls wiped off the face of the earth, where do we go to enjoy a picnic lunch? Allen Bill Pond looks more like a gravel pit than the glistening body of water we've enjoyed and many tables are gone. These were the primary destinations for a day-trip to Kananaskis. They were the main attractions in the most popular recreation area in Alberta. Here are some alternatives:
Forgetmenot Pond in the Little Elbow Recreation Area at the end of HWY 66
Elbow River Launch
Visitor Information Centre
Bragg Creek Provincial Park. Get to the park through the back door. Take HWY 66 west to the Bragg Creek turnoff. That is HWY 758. The park is a short drive down that road.
It is unfortunate that the only time a get a photo of a bird worth sharing is when one crashes into my window and sits stunned long enough for me to take a picture. At least they seldom succomb to the crash and fly away after a short while. This little guy hit the window, fluttered in the air for a few seconds, then landed on my deck. I took this photo through the window less than 1/2-metre away. These birds crawl up trees, much like a nuthatch, looking for bugs. Under normal conditions you probably wouldn't notice them as only their long curved beeks and spotted plumage are unique features.
Two of Alberta's most popular recreation destinations have been transformed. We can take advantage of the opportunity to provide new facilities to meet the needs of visitors. Why not build 20 lightweight shelters, like gazebos, on the gravel bed where Allen Bill Pond once was. We need to get government, the private sector and individuals working together to revitalize or economy and support our community.
Construction of a temporary single lane bridge over the Elbow River on Highway 66
News Update: Thursday, August 1. It's complicated. The engineering and construction of a temporary bridge over a flood ravaged river in itself is a challenge. Then you have to consider environmental impact and the interests of the contractor, Alberta Transport and Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Then you have people like me hoovering around in anticipation of the reopening of the Elbow Valley. Given all that the the first crossing of the bridge was Friday, August 2 at 4 PM.
When it reopens there will be long waits as it is a single lane bridge with a long access and egress ramps. There appears to be significant damage to some of our favoured places like Elbow Falls. It is possible that Allen Bill Pond will never be restored. This is the third time the dam that forms the pond has been repaired. Maybe there are things mother nature just can't abide.
Thanks to the Volker Stevin work crew for the long hours and effort they invested to get the alternate bridge open for us.
This is a proposal for an emergency exit for residents of West Bragg Creek and Wintergreen in response to a disaster like a flood or wildfire when the bridge is unreliable. In the 2005 flood the bridge over the Elbow River on Balsam Avenue was briefly closed as it was considered unreliable. At that point there was no way into or out of West Bragg and Wintergreen. Again in 2013 the bridge was closed but this time for 2 1/2 days. Some folks were shut out and some shut in. I'm not aware of anyone who experienced a life threatening trauma, but it could easily happen.
Flood Recovery Information session held at the Community Centre July, 25
The flood recovery guy said their "Disaster Recovery Program" will help people restore their property to a functional equivalent. If you lost a fur coat worth $5,000 they'll cover the cost of a $500 down parka. They'll do an infrastructure evaluation and restore the integrity of your building to the foundation. The landscape is outside of their mandate. Uninsurable assistance is available. You have to file for flood assistance and there is an approval process. Money is available for the cost of dislocation and to rebuild businesses as well as residences, although getting people back into their homes is a priority. He suggested we look at the U.S. FEMA web site for flood mitigation techniques. (See the links below)
I said we need a second exit as the bridge has proven, both in the 2005 flood and clearly in 2013, to be unreliable. In my opinion another bridge is not the solution. We need an emergency road with an exit near Kiwanis. They said that's not their problem; that we need to raise the issue with the county. I understand that it's not part of this disaster recovery, but it is a disaster waiting to happen. It will require a provincial and regional solution.
This is the provincial policy:
"Under a new policy direction announced July 14, flood victims living in flood ways in affected communities will have the choice to relocate or rebuild using funding from the Disaster Recovery Program. Residents who rebuild inside floodways will not be covered by this program in the event of a future flood, while residents living in flood fringe areas will receive future compensation for damages only if they rebuild with specific flood-proofing measures. Flood victims living in floodways will be assisted if they wish to move out of flood risk areas. Additionally, the province will amend legislation to prohibit municipalities from allowing future development in floodways."
CBC News reporter Dave Gilson spent the day here taking stock. Hopefully Bragg Creek Days will show that we've come through the worst of the flood's impact and that we're open for business and we're the place to play while we wait for the Elbow Valley bridge to open for visitors. In the video you see Rose Everett and her crew planting flowers to dress up Balsam Ave. for the parade, saying "the community support has been heart-warming and overwhelming". Watch Irmi sweeping up a storm at the Old West Mall, me wondering how long we have to endure this flood induced financial drought before the visitors return and business recovers. You see Naomi Campbell at the Scoops and Snacks ice cream shop thankful that "we have a business" but we need more. The hope is the parade will be good for business and good for moral. Sanil Mattu of the Community Association says there was no hesitation about holding the 50th Annual Bragg Creek Days Parade - "Can we do this? Yes!"
It's just the kind of day when you wake up to this message from the Infusion Restaurant in your mailbox.
Dear valued customers,
Due to the severe flooding that took place in Bragg Creek on June 20 to 23, 2013 the building/restaurant on the property has now been condemned. No losses will be covered by insurance so we cannot repair the building. We also have no plans for rebuilding, but we are trying to find a new place in the Calgary area to reopen. When that happens we will be sure to email our customers. For gift certificates that were not yet used we will accept them when we re-open.
The Infusion Contemporary Cuisine was a place of so many memories. We would like to thank every one of our valued customers for sharing in those memories with us. Thank you for your patronage and support; we will not forget to cherish you all with those times you spent with us.
Also, thank you to all of the volunteer men and women, our friends, Infusion staff and their families, and all of the people who helped Infusion clean up, keep our community together and are helping to build it back up.
Thank you from our hearts!
Air & Nok Bouphasiry
If you go to www.visitbraggcreek.com, the Chamber Commerce web site, you'll find some positive messages about local businesses struggling to get back on their feet and you should patronize them. But I've heard disturbing rumors, like the one about Loko Bar not opening until spring 2014 and that a man named Dick owned the house that crashed into the bridge and that he lost an acre of valuable property when it got flushed downstream. That rumor says that he owns the Infusion building and other properties in the hamlet that have been damaged. I hear a local B&B lost a $6,000 booking to a flood related cancellation. Since my business here failed, I don't pay much attention to local businesses and I am ill-informed, but I know this flood has been devastating for some. The Infusion was my favourite restaurant. Sad to see it go.
Congratulations to Alberta Transportation and Volker Stevin
WooHooo! As of Thursday evening July 11, the West Bragg Creek bridge to the Recreation Area parking lot is open. Actually it's a little sad. The extraordinary conditions made a visit to West Bragg a special thing. Working through a challenge is always a rewarding experience. Still a lot of work to be done, but at least we can get into the heart of the trail system.
Elbow Valley and West Bragg bridges were broken in the June 2013 flood
The bridge over the Elbow River on Highway 66 in Kananaskis is seriously damaged. Without the bridge it is impossible to get to any of the features and facilities located in the Elbow Valley. Elbow Falls, Allen Bill Pond, Forgetmenot Pont, the Little Elbow Recreation Area, Moose Mountain trailhead, all of the campgrounds, and trails that make up the most popular recreation area in all of Alberta are now inaccessible. A temporary span is under construction, but it will likely be months until the bridge can be repaired.
The bridge over Bragg Creek leading to the parking lot in the West Bragg Creek Recreation Area was closed for a bit less than 3 weeks. To access West Bragg Creek trails people had to park before the bridge and fjord the creek on a temporary bridge. The crossing was very easy and safe. Except for some minor inconveniences the trail system was open and accessible. An exception existed for horse trailers. There was no place to turn around near the bridge, so trailers had to turn and park at the Texas Gate.
In the Flood of 2013 We Lost an Important Part of the Heritage of Our Community
The Bragg Creek Trading Post has been trading goods with natives and supplying ranchers, residents and tourists for over 70 years. During the flood, the Elbow River burst its banks and crashed into and through the Trading Post. We hope and trust they will be able to recover and rebuild. Many years ago I photographed the interior. I used those photos and text supplied by Barb, the owner, to prepare this video. Please view our video to see what we've lost and what a daunting challenge they face to put their lives and a Bragg Creek institution back together again.
Bragg Creek Flood of 2013
Just about every June we get a huge rain that either adds to an already high water table or to rivers swollen by melting snow coming from the mountains. On June 20-23 of 2013 Bragg Creek (the one with all the water in it) and the Elbow River reached flood stage after about 170 mm of rain came down in a few days.
The result was devastating; a huge piece of riverfront property washed away, the Trading Post destroyed, buildings gone, trees down, roads closed, massive property damage in restaurants and stores. For many of us it was just stress. Limited communications and no way in or out of West Bragg Creek and Wintergreen. It's time to figure how to get an alternate exit for those whose only way to safety is a vulnerable bridge across the Elbow.
This is a good time to provide the link to the Kananaskis Conservation Officers trail reports. These are excellent guides to conditions on the trails; particularly important at this time of year with lots of rain, and lots of mud when the snow melts.
Stop Clearcut Logging in West Bragg Creek - Kananaskis Country
SustainK invite you to join those who are already petitioning Premier Redford, reminding her that K-Country should be preserved as Peter Lougheed intended back in 1977 - that the Eastern Slopes should be primarily for watershed and recreation (source: Policy for Management of Eastern Slopes) - and asking her to put in place a full and complete facilitated public consultation process BEFORE planning clear-cut operations in the West Bragg Creek and Elbow Valley corridor of Kananaskis.
Poll created January 18. As of June 18 this petition has 7,927 signatures. Their goal is 10,000
The forest is a critical part of the ecosystem that supplies fresh water to the city of Calgary. Take away the trees and you remove the sponge that absorbs water during winter and releases it through the spring and summer. Exposed earth erodes into the creeks and rivers choking them with sediment and loading them with heavy metals and nutrients. All of this degrades the quality and quantity of water, it can contribute to flood and drought and it adds to the cost and difficulty of cleaning the water for human use. And that's just the impact on the water. Remove the forest and you remove the habitat for animals, you remove the essence of what draws hundreds of thousands to enjoy outdoor activities, you devalue residential property values and you reduce the number of people that patronize businesses in the gateway communities.
The 5-minute HD video below shows a close-up view of the birds going about their business. I put a miniature camera unobtrusively in and near their feeding stations, providing a close-up view of the birds and their behaviour.
I take down my bird feeders during the summer in part because the birds have plenty to eat and also the feeders attract bears. So in mid-November I load up the sunflower seeds and the niger seeds to help the birds through the winter. The Black-Capped Chickadee, Nuthatch, Grey Jay and Blue Jay live here all year. During the winter the Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Pine Grosbeak and occasionally Evening Grosbeak join them. This makes for a fair amount of activity around the feeders. I used to feed the deer until wildlife officers said that attracting deer will only attract cougar, so I stopped. It really hasn't made much difference as the deer like to clean up under the feeders, eating the seeds that fall to the ground.
This pine grosbeak crashed into my window - something that happens more than I like. This photo was taken about 10 minutes after the crash while he was stunned and immobile. About an hour later a squirrel made a run at him, but he was able to fly into a tree where he stayed for another 3 hours until he was able to continue about his business.
Living among wildlife is one of the great things about living in Bragg Creek. The deer visit daily and other creatures appear out of the forest on occasion. Sometimes I am lucky enough to capture them on video, but most of the time they are hidden in plain sight or gone in a flash.
At the end of the 1800's a couple of young brothers, John and Albert Bragg ran away from their home in Nova Scotia on a western adventure. They were camped out by a creek in the foothills of Alberta in 1894 when A.O. Wheeler surveyed (drew a map of) what was then the Northwest Territories for the Canadian government. That's how we got the name of our community.
John Bragg, a descendant of Albert has gained notoriety for his business acumen. According to the Globe and Mail, he now lives in "the white house which was the boyhood home of Albert Warren Bragg, Johnís fatherís uncle, who went west to try out ranching and founded the Alberta settlement of Bragg Creek. Today, Bragg Creek is a picturesque dormitory community for Calgary, and home to many of the cityís business barons."
Part of Bragg's corporate empire includes Eastlink a communications company that provides Internet services for Redwood Meadows.
The West Bragg Creek forest will never be the same again
There is only one solution to the problem of West Bragg Creek and that is to transfer jurisdiction over the northeastern section of Kananaskis to the Alberta Ministry of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. That would require a premier with vision and courage to effect such a change. I am working on a "Before and After Photo Gallery" to remind us of what we'll lose to logging.
Most of the trails in West Bragg Creek are on this Bing.com map. The markers attached to the trails have photos of the forest, many of them showing logging tape flags. The orange flags indicate where the logging will occur and the pink & black tape indicates a haul road. Some photos show the dramatic difference between a mature forest, with its open understory and a new forest which is a dense mass of trees. Along the trails you'll see stunning views of mountains and forests, there is an innukshuk and many people out enjoying the trails. There is life and energy on the trails.
Spray Lakes Sawmills will be clear cutting the forest in West Bragg Creek as of October 2012. I hope you will take the time and make the effort to let your government know that this is a really bad idea. An updated Action List is located here
I stopped at the original Trading Post on White Ave. recently where I learned a few interesting facts about the Pow Wow from the owner Barb Teghtmeyer. The Pow Wow attracted 5,000 visitors in 2012 and there were 1,000 dancers registered. Another fascinating fact; an adult sized jingle dress should have 365 bells attached.
This video shows the traditional dancing, drumming, singing and game playing that make up the annual celebration known as a Pow Wow. The dancers wear colourful and often dramatic traditional outfits to compete in dance competitions in categories like the grass and jingle dance.
The Tsuu T'ina are one of 45 First Nations in Alberta. The video shows which bands are covered under Treaty 7 and where the nations are located in Alberta. Everyone is welcome to attend the free Pow Wow; a traditional festival where the Tsuu T'ina play host to natives from across North America many of whom camp on the grounds in RVs or tipis.
Bragg Creek is a popular destination for Calgarians looking for a break from the city and as a gateway to nature and the recreational activities available in Kananaskis. There are about seventy businesses located in 5 malls in the hamlet of Bragg Creek and in separate buildings along White Avenue or Balsam Avenue. Park the car and stroll around the hamlet. Just about everything is within a 15-minute walk.
The 3 1/2 minute video below offers a peak at the hamlet and the shopping and services available there.
If you have some time and energy, you can take a walking tour of Bragg Creek starting at the Provincial Park and ending at the bridge over the Elbow River.
Several residents have been testing the water in Bragg Creek since 2005. They measure its depth, temperature, turbity (how dirty it is) and take note of what the weather is like. Then they take a sample and test it for nitrates, chloride and phosphate. All of this data will prove very useful when we want to determine how healthy the creek is. If you want to become a citizen scientist, get in touch.
Moose mountain stands out to the east of the other Rocky Mountains west of Calgary Alberta. That makes it accessible. It is also just 7,995 ft. tall and you can drive to the trailhead just 1,565 ft. below the summit. The hike is 4.1 km long one-way and you can usually get in and out in about 5 hours. There is a fire lookout on the summit. Many people like to climb to the summit on the summer solstice when we get 16 hours and 33 minutes of daylight. It is usually windy and often cool if not cold. Watch this 3-minute video of an ascent to the summit on the summer solstice of 2012.
and a guide to help you plan your push for the peak.
The Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis website is now on Facebook.
Do you have a favourite trail for hiking or cycling, maybe you had a great meal with super service or maybe you got a speeding ticket in the 40 km/h zones around the hamlet. Share your news and views on the braggcreekca Facebook page. Even better, share your photos of some of the cool things you've seen in and around Bragg Creek.
This one seemed longer than others, but our winters are always too long. They only release their grip in June when we can plant annual flowers and put away the snow tires. Then the deer and moose appear with their newborn on display and the wildflowers blaze across the landscape. It rains a lot and with the addition of the snowmelt rivers and creeks fill to the point of flooding and traditionally the shopping centre parking lot turns into a small pond. This is life in the foothills of the Rockies, here captured on video. The moose calf is about 4 to 6 weeks old. The bird's wing is from a Clark's Nutcracker.
Bragg Creek recognized as "Historicaly Significant"
On January 17, 2012 national news organizations reported that Bragg Creek has been designated a "Historically Significant Place in Canada" due to it being the location of the first Youth Hostel in Canada. The hostel, opened in July 1933, was the work of Mary and Catherine Barclay who wanted "to enable youth to find wholesome companionship ... travelling inexpensively, and acquiring a knowledge of their neighbour's land and customs...”
There are 60 National Historic Sites in Alberta. Fort Calgary and Banff Springs Hotel are among them.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides are the ultimate Canadian winter activity
The foothills of Alberta are a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. They are relatively accessible; not far from Calgary and the terrain is a lot easier to navigate than the alpine region in the Rockies. Lay down a layer of snow and they are the perfect winter playground. Add some horses and you've got the ultimate western Canadian experience. Check out this short video of a horse-drawn sleigh ride on the Anchor D Ranch just west of Turner Valley.
Finding information about Kananaskis
Finding stuff on the government's web site is like shooting a moving target, so you should check this out now before they move it. Here is a page of all the publications about Kananaskis; maps, posters, brochures, CD-Roms, digital downloads and booklets. There is a lot of great info available.
Call the Elbow Valley Information Centre for info: 403-949-4261
It's late October. Most of the leaves have fallen and it's slim pickings for the moose and deer. I noticed some movement through the patio door and the dog started barking frantically. There, a few feet from my window was a moose - on my deck - happily munching on the leaves of the mountain ash tree that grows through the deck.
Moose on the deck
Your guide to a full-of-fun destination in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Calgary and Banff. Drive the Cowboy Trail to Kananaskis and outdoor adventure. Explore the horseback, biking, and hiking trails. Enjoy a day in the country, unique shopping, fine dining and accommodation.
Information on facilities and attractions in this 4,000 square kilometre recreational playground. Explore the Elbow valley. You can access the trails, rivers, ponds and mountains along highway 66 and in West Bragg Creek. You'll find picnic areas interpretive trails and campsites.
Outdoor adventure awaits on the trails and recreation areas around us. Catch some culture in the Bragg Creek Centre. Share the fun at our annual events. Your guide to the trails, events and activities in Kananaskis.