Cavell Road now open
The seasonal closure on the Edith Cavell Road has been lifted as of Feb. 15. This annual closure, which began in the winter of 2009/10, is one of Parks Canada’s conservation actions implemented to help struggling caribou populations.
In winter, woodland caribou in the park are found in high elevation areas of open slopes and deep powder, and are well adapted to life in deep snow giving them a distinct advantage over their predators. Packed trails make it easier for predators to access these areas, so the intent of the Cavell Road seasonal closure is to help deter predators from accessing this important habitat during periods of deep snow. By mid-February, the snow is usually more compact, and at this time packed trails are likely to have less of a significant impact on predator movements.
Via GPS collar on one of the wolves in the pack that frequents this area, Parks Canada has monitored pack movement over the past three winters. This monitoring has determined that predators are able to move much more quickly on packed roads than off of them. While the wolf pack in the region did still occasionally access this area during the first year of the closure, in the second year they stayed out of the area until approximately ten days after the closure was lifted. How effective the closure is depends on year-to-year snowpack and conditions, but overall, the strategy of not packing roads that lead to key caribou habitat appears to deter predator access, making early winter a little bit easier for the herd.
Local compliance with this conservation initiative has been excellent, and Parks Canada would like to thank everyone for choosing to respect this seasonal closure.
Thank you, and happy skiing!