Very wet conditions this year and fire-damaged soils from the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire are causing healthy-looking trees at Gregoire Lake to fall down, even in moderate winds.
On Aug. 21, gusts of about 60 km/h caused more than 20 healthy-looking trees to fall across the park access road. Another 100 trees have fallen elsewhere in the park. Parks staff took immediate action to safely evacuate the park.
“We are looking at all options to ensure that we can offer a safe and reliable service to park users. Although our decision to close the park will affect camping opportunities for the last few weeks of summer, our top priority is always the safety of Albertans.”
Gregoire Lake Provincial Park was severely affected by the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. After the fire, parks staff focused on clearing dead and fire-affected trees. Areas with visibly healthy trees were not mitigated to the same extent because the trees appeared to be in good condition. These areas, previously considered safe, now need to be thoroughly evaluated.
Over the coming months, government will examine how fire-affected areas in the park can be restored safely. Work is anticipated to be complete in time for the 2020 camping season.
- Falling trees in parks can cause severe injury or death, as well as property damage.
- A notice about a temporary closure was issued on Aug. 22 at AlbertaParks.ca
- Historically, Gregoire Lake remains open for camping until Thanksgiving.