According the Alberta Parks Canmore and area trail report the Ha Ling Trail is now open to the public. After long delays on construction, the popular hiking trail took longer to complete.
Marie Conboy / Postmedia
The popular Ha Ling Trail near Canmore has re-opened to the public following an extended 16-month closure.Construction work on the hiking trail, which closed in April 2018, faced numerous challenges that included snow and ice buildup, said Alberta Parks project manager Lindsay Collins.“We are extremely pleased with how the project went; it turned out better than we expected,” Collins said of the $850,000 upgrade.An Alberta Parks release said significant erosion was damaging the trail ecosystem and creating safety issues for users.Additionally, portions of the old trail were exposed to avalanche hazards and endangered whitebark pine trees growing on Ha Ling were vulnerable to damage from visitors.Forty-eight construction days were lost to weather delays, the Parks department noted.“The old trail was a non-designated trail that developed and evolved over time, and it was never intended for a large number of visitors,” the release stated. “The new trail has been reshaped and lengthened to make it safer and more suitable for a large number of visitors.”Rails and cable ladders were installed at sections of the trail where the grade could not be reduced. A viewpoint was also added.Ha Ling Trail can see up to 600 people at one time in the summer, according to Alberta Parks.“Some of the previous damage was caused from winter visitors not being prepared with appropriate footwear (and having ice grippers) or using the trail when it was too slippery or icy,” it said. “Creating new trails will cause the trail to widen again, erode, and pull at the understory of vegetation and soil.”