As part of Budget 2022, the Alberta government is investing more than $4 million to upgrade the popular Grassi Lakes and Goat Creek day-use areas in Kananaskis Country.

These upgrades will address public safety issues and parking congestion while protecting the environment and enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities.

“The public transit and trail investments we’re making today are examples of the Kananaskis Conservation Pass in action, helping to improve accessibility and day-use areas, and ensuring the landscapes that Albertans love are protected and well-maintained for years to come.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

Record-breaking numbers of visitors are exploring Kananaskis Country and with increased visitation comes increased pressure on existing trails and facilities. These upgrades will ensure the sustainability of some of the region’s most popular trails while conserving the landscape and protecting the environment.

“Kananaskis Country is a special part of our province. This new public transit initiative, paired with significant upgrades to everyone’s favourite trails and facilities, builds on major conservation initiatives in the region while promoting outdoor recreation and supporting our local tourism economy.”

Miranda Rosin, MLA for Banff-Kananaskis

Supported by revenues from the Kananaskis Conservation Pass, Alberta’s government is also committing $994,000 to support a free regional transit initiative in partnership with the Town of Canmore. This new service will reduce barriers and allow more Albertans to experience Kananaskis Country.

The new transit initiative is expected to launch in 2024. It will run from the Town of Canmore to the Canmore Nordic Centre and the upgraded Grassi Lakes day-use area.

“As more and more people are discovering the wonders that the Canmore area has to offer, this new three-year pilot for a fare-free Roam Public Transit route connecting the town to Quarry Lake, Grassi Lakes and the Canmore Nordic Centre will help manage traffic congestion while maintaining access to these popular areas.”

Sean Krausert, mayor, Town of Canmore

When the conservation pass was first introduced, Alberta’s government aimed to address vehicle parking congestion and enhance conservation and public safety in the region. Improving transit will support opportunities for visitors to access Kananaskis Country from Canmore while helping to manage vehicle traffic and congestion at sites with limited parking.

“We are thrilled that Environment and Parks is continuing to invest into these popular trails to improve the user experience and safety. These upgrades will support the increased usage and provide better access for decades to come.”

Nancy Ouimet, executive director, Friends of Kananaskis Country

Alberta’s government is also expanding Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park to conserve more of the outdoor spaces that Albertans love. In total, 610 acres – about the size of 462 standard football fields – will be incorporated into the park, strengthening the protection of the wildlife corridor in the area.

“It is great to see investments that we know will lead to better visitor experiences. The investment in regional transit aligns with our vision for sustainable tourism. It will make access to these popular spots easier for locals and visitors alike while helping alleviate parking issues and reducing emissions. While we know there will be some pain points this summer while the much-needed upgrades are underway, our team looks forward to providing alternative suggestions for those epic experiences and adventures Canmore and Kananaskis are known for.” 

Rachel Ludwig, chief executive officer, Tourism Canmore Kananaskis

“The Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission is excited to be partnering on a regional transit initiative with Environment and Parks and the Town of Canmore. This initiative will allow visitors and residents to access key destinations without the use of a private vehicle, connecting highly visited areas and reducing vehicular congestion while promoting accessibility and sustainability.”

Martin Bean, chief administrative officer, Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government launched the Kananaskis Conservation Pass on June 1, 2021. To date, the pass has generated $12 million in revenue.
  • Revenues from the Kananaskis Conservation Pass are being used to provide services to visitors and support operations in the region.
  • $994,000 from pass revenues is being committed to the Town of Canmore to support a regional transit initiative that is expected to launch in 2024. These funds will be used towards the purchase of a transit bus and to enhance transit stops, construct associated infrastructure and operate the service for three years.
  • Effective April 1, the Grassi Lakes and Goat Creek day-use areas will be under construction. Albertans are encouraged to discover the hundreds of kilometres of nearby maintained trails that are ready to be explored. Albertans can visit or call the Kananaskis Information Line at 403-678-0760 to find alternative hikes and areas to explore in the region.
  • The project will:
    • expand and formalize the Grassi Lakes main parking lot
    • refurbish portions of the Grassi Lakes trail
    • formalize the Grassi Lakes overflow parking lot
    • provide a road crossing and trail connection between the overflow and main lots
    • provide separation and washroom facilities between the climber’s lot and the Smith Dorrien Trail
    • expand and formalize the main Goat Creek parking lot
    • replace two bridges on Goat Creek trail
  • Trail closures include:
    • Grassi Lakes Trail
    • Junkyard Trail
    • Ha Ling Trail
    • Miner’s Peak Trail
    • Goat Creek Trail
    • East End of Rundle Route
    • Reclaimer Mountain Bike Trail
    • Riders of Rohan Mountain Bike Trail
    • access to High Rockies Trail from Goat Creek
  • Climbing area closures include:
    • Grassi Lakes Climbing Area
    • Ha Ling Climbing Area
    • East End of Rundle Climbing Area
  • Officially established in 1998, Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park is home to many species at risk and provides significant opportunities for nature-based recreation and tourism, including backcountry camping, hunting, equestrian use, hiking and climbing. The park includes the iconic Mount Yamnuska, which is popular for hiking, scrambling and climbing.