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Ghost River Alberta. Access Success.

Submitted by darkside on 2009-02-15

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by Grant Parkin

CASA is pleased to announce some progress in regaining motorized access past Junction 39 in the Ghost River drainage.

As previously stated, we have an agreement in principle with SRD to re-establish traditional motorized access patterns up to the Ghost Wilderness boundary. Unfortunately the terms and conditions of such will preclude access under this document for this ice climbing season.

However, we have finally secured an interim Temporary Field Authorization to allow partial motorized access until March 31, 2009. As of next weekend, or as soon as the signs are up (we have to erect them), it will be permissible to cross the first TWO fords on the main channel of the Ghost River, past Junction 39. In other words, from Junction 39 you can cross the river twice to the flats, but not enter the trees (that lead to THOS), and park at either marker #38 or #40.

This is a significant consideration on the part of SRD, who have recognized the validity of the CASA Fish Habitat Study and the hard work that the climbing community on the whole has done with regard to sustainable use in the FLUZ.

We also have to recognize that access to the majority of ice climbs that exist on Alberta Provincial Lands now require travel through, or to a Forest Land Use Zone. This has meant that approximately 10% of all the routes in the fourth edition of Waterfall Ice have seen some sort of restriction. When considering only climbs situated in Alberta, the rate moves to 16%, and jumps to 40% when only climbs situated on Alberta Public Lands are selected. Given this statistic, and the fact that this is the first time motorized track has been added to the approved motorized use trail system in the FLUZ we have an occurrence of some significance, not only for the Ghost FLUZ but provincially as well. No other user group has been able to achieve this. The climbing community should give itself one big pat on the back for a job well done.

To ensure the endurance of this TFA, Ghost climbers need to exhibit strong compliance with the new End of Trail boundary and stick to the designated, and soon to be marked, fords. This action will be extremely important to our efforts to push the boundary further west for next year. Note: we cannot continue to THOS at this time, as this requires bridging of the small fish bearing stream at the edge of the gravel. Non compliance of this particular closure will result in the MOE, DFO, and SRD pulling their collective support for our agreement in principle.

So far, this has been a 4-year process but we now have some evidence that the Ghost Waiparous Operational Access Management plan does indeed seem to work, albeit very slowly. With the SRD approval documentation arriving Friday February 6, CASA was able to announce this development Saturday February 7 at the Knuckle Basher evening slide show, so if you were there you already know this. We would like to extend our thanks to the organizers of the Knuckle Basher for supporting CASA and ongoing access efforts especially now as we hope to move into a construction phase (bridging and stream bed hardening) which will likely eat up a pile of cash.

CASA is also looking for volunteers to assist with route/crossing marking and sign placement this weekend. If you are interested in legally driving through the river, doing some climbing, and sticking some signs in the ground please contact Grant via email at grant4casa-at-yahoo-d0t-ca or PM darkside on

Originally posted by Eric Hoogstraten of CASA. Edited by me to reflect current details and information regarding the work party.

Further to the above, carpooling is available. We'll leave the Tims/A&W in Cochrane about 8:30am on Saturday 14th February. Arrival at junction 39 approx 10:00am. Work will take a couple of hours followed by BBQ and beers for lunch and climbing at GBU for the afternoon. Please send an email if attending to ensure lunch. If anyone can provide sledge hammers, picks, shovels, axe/chainsaw, it would help.


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