With the snow just about gone from most of the trails in and around town, the Jasper Trail Alliance wants to start giving the paths a little love and attention, and it’s looking for help.
“We’d just like to get some people involved in the care and maintenance of our trails,” said Loni Klettl of the JTA.
To that end, the group is holding a pub night on May 7 and inviting anyone who wants to improve Jasper’s trail network to come and get involved.
“Basically it’s a little social and we’ll have tables set up,” Klettl said. “We’re hoping to have a little bit for everybody.”
The JTA has a list of minor and major projects it hopes to accomplish this season and volunteers can help out in a variety of ways.
The work ranges from a series of “two-hour jobs” that can be tackled on evenings or weekends to a more major undertaking: the creation of an interpretive trail at Cottonwood Slough.
That project involves some major upgrades to the section of Trail 8 that runs from the Cottonwood Slough parking lot to the edge of the slough, potentially adding viewing platforms and exhibits on wetland ecosystems. It will also require re-routing a muddy section of the trail up through higher, drier ground.
The JTA describes this as a “triple win” since hikers will have a better trail, the area’s main riparian zone (where the land meets the water) will return to a more natural habitat state, and the park will have a new educational attraction where visitors can learn about wetlands.
“A lot of people like wetlands and there’s nothing as of now in the park to showcase sloughs and swamps,” Klettl said.
For that major project, the JTA is not only looking for volunteer labourers, but also people with skills in project planning, proposal writing, landscape design, grant applications, or major fundraising.
Then there are a series of more minor projects that simply need some helping hands. Those include:
• Finishing the Ganges re-route by rehabilitating the old section of trail that runs through the aspen forest.
• Creating the Jasper Park Lodge through-route, in partnership with the JPL green team, by tying the JPL leasehold to the new Woodpecker trail and completing the area’s easy trail system.
• Levelling the section of Trail 8 where the old bridges and corduroys were removed.
• Finishing the Pyramid Trail by scouting a suitable route and connecting it to Trail 2 behind Pyramid Lake Resort.
• Repairing the trail braiding on the Sawridge Switchbacks (Trail 2).
• Minor repairs to eroded north slopes on the Overlander Trail.
• Pruning to improve sight lines along numerous trails, in consultation with Parks Canada.
• Improving trail signage.
To get involved, drop by the JTA pub night at the Olive Bistro, starting at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 7.
If you can’t make it that night, Klettl said you can also contact the Friends of Jasper National Park or visit the Jasper Trail Alliance page on Facebook for more information.