Water . . . Bears . . . Landscape
The Ghost River Community sponsored a presentation titled “Water . . . Bears . . . Landscape” on April 14, 2015 at a church hall in Northwest Calgary. The featured speaker was Kevin Van Tigham. The Calgary location was important as the Ghost is a relatively remote wildland, upstream from Calgary where 30% of the floodwater originated in the 2013 flood. It is also an area that is being heavily logged and where off-highway vehicles (OHV) are causing significant disruption to the landscape. Like the Elbow River watershed, the Ghost watershed is a critical source of water for Calgary.
Read the report of what was said
Ecosystem Services of the Eastern Slopes Open House
At Redwood Meadows House on Friday, April 17th, 3-6 pm.
University of Calgary, Environmental Science Program, is presenting studies on Ecosystem Services of the Eastern Slopes.
The Environmental Science Program studied the Impact of Septic Systems in Bragg Creek in 1999-2000. We now have water services. They studied the flood of 2005. The government plans to dam the Elbow River. It appears that we should pay attention to what they are doing.
We know that Bragg Creek is a special place. It’s in our name, in our forest and in our people.
Info is on the ENSC website, http://www.ucalgary.ca/ensc/
The winter that wasn't
It's snowing today, March 15, and likely there is more to come, but we kind of dodged winter this year. Since the second week of January we've had, what seemed to be, a very mild winter with very little snow. The chart below shows a comparison of the temperature from January through mid-March for the year 2000 and 2015. Y2K was chosen because it was a milestone and because the data was available; kind of like because it was there. The chart also shows snowfall which is reported on the braggcreekca Twitter account. All data was recorded at the West Bragg Creek Weather Station. This is by no means a scientific analysis, but if you look carefully you will see the highs are higher in 2015, the lows were lower in 2000 and there were more periods of warm weather in 2015. OK, so it's not a dramatic difference, but it felt like that to me.
You can check the current weather, updated every 15 minutes, on the Bragg Creek - Gatewy to Kananaskis weather page
History is cool - or should I say it's legit. At the recent meeting Bragg Creek Historical Society we discussed when events can be considered historic. I said "yesterday is history".
The "Our Foothills" book is considered the bible of history in the area; but it only covers the years up to 1940. Judy Norman, the leading light of the society, wants to pick up at 1941 and carry on. I recently purchased a copy of Our Foothills and used it to produce a cleaner Acrobat document than the one I had on this Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis web site. So an upgraded copy is available. I also copied the first 65 pages covering general information about the area. I also got a copy of "Chaps and Chinooks" which I used to copy the preface. So how legit is history? I learned that we have our own Buffalo Jump. Our Head Smashed In is along the Jumpingpound Creek. You can see it when you cross the creek when driving on Highway 1.
Bragg Creek History Books
Two meetings - Important issues
Rocky View County will hold a meeting at the Community Centre on Thursday, January 15 at 7 PM. Apparently they want to discuss the McLean Creek Dry Dam and flood mitigation in Bragg Creek. In my view we shouldn’t mess with nature, we should work with it. In very simple terms we shouldn’t build on a flood plain. Most of the hamlet is on the flood plain of the Elbow River so it’s not that simple.
I hope they provide an opportunity to address the need for a second access road for Wintergreen and West Bragg Creek so we don’t have to rely on the Balsam Ave. Bridge during an emergency.
Another meeting, this one at the Seniors Centre on Thursday, January 29th at 6:30 PM, is the third in an effort to establish the Bragg Creek Historical Society. I think we’ve had 5 bridges over the Elbow in Bragg Creek. Floods have taken a toll over the years. A woman died due to pneumonia contracted in the flood of 1932. Now is a great time to look back as we plan ahead.
This photo album deals with both – current and historical images of flooding and bridges in Bragg Creek.
I went to the Rocky View meet the people event on Jan. 15
I've seen the future and it's out of our hands.
The decision to build the McLean Creek and Springbank Dry Dams is in the hands of the Provincial Government and the City of Calgary. The decision about water management berms around Bragg Creek will be made by the County. The decision about what kind of community we live in will be made by developers and the County's recently hired urban planners. The Fire and EMS Chief placed a second exit road relatively low on his list of priorities. The only person that seemed to fully understand the water management issues, Mr. Kelly from Water Portal was overlooked and dismissed as irrelevant.
Liz Breaky, our Councillor, told us this is the way it will be and the sooner the better.
Joan Merryfield (nee Burby) has lived here all her life. She watched as the Two Pine School was planned, built and inaugurated in 1932. She married Jack Merryfield and raised a family. Joan wrote a wonderful account of the origin of the Two Pine School which was located on Highway 762. She remembers riding her horse to school for Grade one with her older brother John and sister Margaret.
Joan’s daughter, Marie Nylund, Judie Norman (nee Baptie) and Barb Teghtmeyer (nee Elsdon) helped me develop an article about the first schools in Bragg Creek. It recounts some of the history of the Sugar Shack, The First Bragg Creek School, and the Elsdon Room, the change room by the skating rink, which was the teacher’s residence for the Two Pine School where Barb’s mother, Mary Blair lived when she was the teacher there.
Many of the people in this history, the Fullertons, Burbys, Connops, Elsdons, Bapties and Merryfields left their mark on our community – some on creeks, mountains, trails, buildings and farms.
Judie Norman is spearheading an effort to create the Bragg Creek Historical Society.
The Two Pine School
Don’t miss the photo gallery – the captions have some interesting tidbits.
That's how we roll here in Bragg Creek
The Original Bragg Creek Trading Post reopened for business on December 14, 2014, 542 days after it was all but destroyed during the flood of 2013. But, while most of us are out playing on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday are the only days they'll be working for the time being. We are so pleased to see this wonderful business back. Congratulations to Barb and Rob for their strength and courage to overcome all the obstacles.
While at the Trading Post, I turned around to see this beautiful view of the Elbow River in winter. On a recent visit to the the Museum of History, formerly the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, I discoverd that the Tsuu T'ina word for Elbow is Kootsisaw.
No Way Out
Alberta Transportation held an Open House here on November 24 to present the proposed southwest Calgary ring road. Why does that matter to us? Because, they traded away the crown land where an emergency exit road north of West Bragg Creek could be built. About two thousand hectares of crown land were traded for 460 hectares of Tsuu T’ina reserve land on the western edge of Calgary, running through the Weaselhead. The 460 acres will be used to build the ring road. We need an emergency exit so residents of West Bragg Creek, Wintergreen and visitors to Kananaskis can escape a fire, a flood or a gas leak. When the Balsam Avenue bridge is closed, as it was during the 2013 flood, there is no way in or out of West Bragg Creek.
Article on the impact of the ring road on Bragg Creek
Article on an emergency road from July 2013
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Spray Lakes Sawmills FSC certification review 2014
About 14 years ago Spray Lakes Sawmills was awarded a Forest Management Agreement to conduct commercial logging in Kananaskis. In 2006 they developed their Detailed Forest Manangement Plan (DFMP). At that time the Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis website, and many local residents mounted a spirited opposition to their plan (tag-a-tree, savekananaskis.ca and braggcreek.ca/forest) in an attempt to get Sustainable Resource Development to rethink this ridiculous plan to clearcut the forest in this highly valued natural area that was so important to residents of Calgary and the economy of Bragg Creek. We failed. Then a couple of years ago SLS won FSC certification after at first being denied. Try, and try again. The FSC is an industry offshoot. They have some credibility, but, after all, they are hired by SLS to audit their operations. Anyway, the SLS certification is up for review to see if they have complied with the conditions set out in their approval under the FSC, that is to improve their public consultation.
This is my letter to the FSC auditor:
A major reorganization of government ministries took effect September 15. Sustainable Resource Development used to be responsible for industrial development in the eastern half of Kananaskis. The western half was managed by Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Then SRD absorbed the Environment Ministry a few years ago to form ESRD. Now they have absorbed the Parks part of the Tourism, Parks and Recreation ministry. So Alberta Parks, all of Kananaskis, is now under the jurisdiction of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. TPR used to have rules governing parks in western Kananaskis, while ESRD had few, if any, rules governing the eastern part except for the Provincial Recreation Areas which were managed by Parks. The PRAs are areas like Elbow Falls, Allen Bill and the parking lot and about 100-metres around it in West Bragg Creek - out to where the dogs on leash signs are.
Who knows what this means. It may be good that Kananaskis is now managed by one ministry, but I think it would have been better if the ministry was Tourism, Parks and Recreation.
Visit the new Kananaskis, Alberta Parks website
See a map of Kananaskis
Second Annual Bragg Creek Scarecrow Festival
During the month of October scarecrows will be popping up all around Greater Bragg Creek. You can vote for your favourite using forms available at My Fovourite Store in the Shopping Centre or Moose Mountain General Store in the Village Market. Voting ends at 6 PM, Friday, October 24.
See the photo gallery - 48 images
Bragg Creek Links and Resources
There is a lot going on here, for such a small rural community. A lot of it has to do with arts and culture, but there are many services that help us live our lives, learn and endure traumatic events. We also have a thriving business community that, despite the devastating flood of 2013, soldier on. This list of links doesn't include individual businesses, but it does point to the business association where you can find the commercial interests. Similarly it doesn't include links to all the outdoor groups that are active in the area, but you'll find the link to the links. What it does do is cover the territory - the Web sites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for all the non-profit and representative organizations that maintain up-to-date information on what's going on in and around Bragg Creek. Although it tries, this site can't be everything to everyone, but it does have a lot of useful information and now it has a portal to even more.
Links to community groups and services in Bragg Creek
Links to Outdoor Recreation in Kananaskis
Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis Photo Gallery
This is the third edition of the image gallery. Here you will find photos of Bragg Creek and Kananaskis taken over the last 15 years, showing the environment, the lifestyle and the culture that makes this such a unique place to visit, to live, to work and to play. It is organized into albums dealing with; Animals, Antiques, Around & About, Bragg Creek, Bragg Creek Days, the Elbow River, Kananaskis Country, Maps, Moose Mountain, Nature and Scarecrows. Some photos show things you may never see like a moose calf, some show things you may never see again like Allen Bill Pond and some of the businesses that have come and gone. Some show things you probably don't ever want to see again - the devastating effect of the 2013 flood. And then there are the things that fill our lives with joy, making us appreciate that we live in a wonderful place among wonderful people.
Visit the Bragg Creek photo gallery
Satellite Internet Service
The options for high speed or broadband Internet in rural areas are severely limited. You may be able to get fixed wireless where the signal is transferred using radio waves from a transmitter/receiver on a local tower or as shown in this article and video you can get a dish installed to connect to a satellite in outer space.
The August 1 hailstorm did some major damage and brought down the wireless Internet service I was using. I need the Internet to operate my business and support this web site, so I had to find an alternative.
This article explores one option
Welcome to Bragg Creek
Bragg Creek is about to change in a big way. The 15-year moratorium on development in the hamlet, due to water services problems is gone. There are new commercial interests and new development pressures. I thought it a good time to take a snapshot of the community as it is in 2014 and what it is like to live here. The idea for this article grew out of a meeting my neighbours and I had with a wildlife conflict biologist from Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. Part of the article is designed to help new residents adjust to living with the wild creatures that are all around us. So this should be of particular interest to those thinking about buying a home here or those who are moving in. Ever wonder how Bragg Creek got its name? It's in here along with a pretty comprehensive guide to the services and facilities available to you.
Everything you ever wanted to know about Bragg Creek
Fullerton Loop Trail
Kananaskis was hit hard by the flood of 2013. But, the good news is that many repairs have been made to trails and infrastructure. The Elbow River Bridge on Highway 66 has a new support and the bridge has been extended to meet the new river bank. The Fullerton Loop Trail has new bridges, a new trailhead and a new connection to the West Bragg Creek trails. It is a popular hike that isn't too difficult and there are nice viewpoints along the way.
Check out the Fullerton Loop Trail
The flood of 2014
After the devastating flood of 2013 and as the anniversary approaches, everyone is on edge. Could it happen again? Well almost. Bragg Creek and the Elbow River overflowed their banks, but it was nothing like last year. All the road repairs and embankments that were rebuilt remained intact. There was no apparent property damage and the Balsam Avenue bridge remained open.
See photos of the flood of 2014
See photos of the flood of 2013
Whatever your preference for enjoying the trails, here's an interactive trail locator
Elbow Valley trails and facilities locator map
Explore this interactive map to find all the trails in the Elbow Valley, including the new trails in West Bragg Creek. Roll your mouse over the trails to find their names and length. You can also roll over the symbols on the map including the red dots for day use areas and the campground symbols to locate campgrounds and the number of campsites available there.
View the trail and facility locator map
I never would have thought of this
While hiking up the Boundary Ridge trail in West Bragg Creek I came upon 4 guys hunched over some stuff on the ground. As I passed I was surprised to see they were little OHVs - RC cars (remote controlled) about 40 cm long with gnarly tires and bodies that looked like Jeeps, a dune buggy and a hot rod. They were preparing to race them down the trail. Not something I would have ever thought I'd see in Kananaskis. I have a page where I list all the things I could imagine people might do in Kananaskis, 45 of them, but this wasn't on the list.
Check out the To Do list
Husky Energy in Kananaskis
I received an anonymous letter recently stating that the energy industry was fracking in Kananaskis, specifically at two wells near the ice cave. The author suggested that Husky Energy would be addressing this issue at an Open House to be held at Jumpingpound Hall, May 14, 2 to 7 PM. The author cited numerous evils of fracking from medical impacts to earthquakes. In response to that Facebook posting, I got a call from Husky PR saying that they weren’t fracking Moose Mountain, had no plans to and that the Open House was to present their plan to build a trucking terminal for hauling oil. Hauling oil? I thought they were extracting gas. In my Facebook post I said, “Who knows what’s going on there?” Well now I do, at least where Husky is concerned. Their PR people sent a document detailing their activities in Kananaskis. You can read it here.
I’m not going to pick a fight with the energy industry in Alberta. That would be stupid. I’ve wasted enough time and effort on fighting logging in Kananaskis. But I can’t walk away from that fight as the damage Spray Lakes and ESRD are doing to my beloved Kananaskis is not only disgusting, it’s harmful.
Anyway, back to Husky. They need the oil trucking terminal, which they plan to build 2 km north of Kananaskis near Hwy 68, to move oil from the two shut-in wells they currently have and from another they plan to drill next year. They will expand their current facilities at one of their three existing pads to accommodate the new oil extraction.
Here’s Husky’s history in our backyard:
Husky has been active in the Moose Mountain area west of Bragg Creek, Alberta for more than 20 years. The company has, as a matter of regular practice, met with neighbours about its existing and planned operations.
In support of its business over the years, Husky took a phased approach to development since the 1992 discovery:
1993: Initiated environmental assessment and public consultation
1998: Two oil wells on Pad #3 brought into production through a pipeline
2004: Two sour gas wells at Pad #1 and #2 brought into production
2005: Additional sour gas pipeline from Moose Mountain to the Jumping Pound gas gathering system commissioned to allow concurrent production from both the gas and oil pads
2009: Two additional oil wells began production following construction of an oil facility at Pad #1
2010: Drilled horizontal oil well (12-23-023-07 W5M) from Pad #1, well completed in 2011
At one point a member of Husky’s PR department sat as president of the Elbow River Watershed Partnership. They have relationships with Kananaskis, Bighorn, the Stoney, Bow Valley Food Banks and the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association. Their industry has undertaken a long term study of their impact on wildlife and habitat and found that there is none. Their studies show that there are 23 mammal species, 79 songbird species and 190 insect species existing and thriving in Kananaskis. They plan to take another look at wildlife this year.
Please have a look at their Moose Mountain Newsletter #17
This is why we love Bragg Creek
Man vs Nature
There is a big debate currently raging over the plan to build flood mitigation systems upstream from Calgary and more importantly, from Bragg Creek. Bragg Creek is on the frontline of this debate. We'll absorb the brunt of the blow whether it comes from a flood or from a burst dam holding the water back. Our little community was wrecked on June 21 and we don't want it to happen again. So what is the solution?
Please read on
Old Style Logging
Take a look at the way logging used to be. Certainly there were never trees of this size in Kananaskis. Our climate just can't make them like those in these photos of logging before chainsaws. I'm really upset that the forest in Kananaskis will disappear as we know it for 5 generations, but I actually don't have much a problem with logging areas that won't have a direct and indirect impact on a city of a million people. Any way this is worth a look just for old times sake. See photos of the way it used to be around the turn of the 20th Century. I don't know where these came from, but, they're here for your enjoyment
New and improved weather station
I installed a new weather station, a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 on Wednesday, January 8 and it started recording the temperature here in West Bragg Creek about a kilometre east of the Kananaskis boundary. It captures a lot more weather data; humidity, barometric pressure and when it rains, it will record how much. Then on Friday I got the mast for the anemometer installed on my roof and it started recording the wind speed. The weather station does this every 15 minutes.
I also got a new setup for the video capture of the Moose Mountain image on the weather page and in the upper left of this page. You can see it here: Bragg Creek Weather. The camera is the same, but the way it gets onto the web page has changed dramatically. I was using ancient technology, a Windows 98 computer with a "Snappy" video interface that fed the video image into an LPT1 printer port. You have to be a geek like me to appreciate that. There is a Twitter feed on the weather page that I use to report snowfall amounts.
I hope you'll rely on for your weather updates from Bragg Creek.
See the weather page
We don’t keep track of things very well anymore. Watching Facebook posts stream off the bottom of the screen seems like such a loss to me. I know nothing ever disappears from Facebook, but out of sight, out of mind. Geese, I sound like such an old codger. But, that is fitting for the subject. I want to draw your attention to a wonderful history about Bragg Creek. It is a tome titled, “Our Foothills" It was produced by the
Millarville, Kew, Priddis and Bragg Creek Historical Society
It appears that the book was edited by Mrs. K. Tosh and printed in 1975. Much of the Bragg Creek section was written by Freda Purmal. It’s a goldmine of information, but there was never a Gold Rush here, although coal was dug out of Ing’s Mine.
Other than the copy in the Glenbow museum and a few in the hands of some local families, the book is long out of print. I made a copy of the Bragg Creek section. You can find it here:
The photo of Ida May White’s Trading Store, shown here, was used in the book. It is owned and copyright by Barb Teghtmeyer, owner of the current Trading Post.
New neighbours in Bragg Creek
The Tsuu T'ina nation voted to accept an agreement clearing the way for the completion of a ring road through southwest Calgary. It will connect Glenmore Trail at 37th St. to Highway 22X near Spruce Meadows. The nation will give up 460 hectares of land in exchange for $340-million and 2,150 hectares of land. They get 5,018 acres transferred to them with approval to purchase another 320 acres for $1.6-million. Read the media release. A large part of those 8.3 sections of land is known as the Jumpingpound lease which borders Bragg Creek. In fact it looks like the new reserve lands touch Kananaskis in the west, Hawkeye Ranch, Faun Hills, the Our Lady of Peace ranch and Wintergreen, connecting to the existing reserve in the east. I guess there will be a bunch of other properties bordering the reserve. Several ranchers have grazing leases on this territory which they paid for. So we can assume they will be compensated for the loss of the land. That's an additional cost not reported in the announced agreement. Other than that this shouldn't change much as there are lots of properties bordering the reserve and Redwood Meadows is on the reserve. As far as I know the Tsuu T'ina make good neighbours.
If you scroll down the page you'll see an idea for a second exit out of West Bragg Creek I proposed after the June flood. It runs over the new reserve lands. I wonder what the nation will think of that proposal.
This means we're cut off from Rockyview with the only open land to the south of us in the M.D. of Foothills.
Click here to see a special Google map of the new reserve lands.
Land Use in Kananaskis
The government has just released a draft of their South Saskatchewan Region Plan. They are almost ready to finalize their land use policy for southern Alberta. But first, they want one final consultation. They've been working on this for about 7 years. This plan will affect generations of Albertans yet to be born. In this plan they have identified Kananaskis as an "Iconic Tourist Region". The thing is there are two parts to Kananaskis, one for people and the other for industry. Two different government ministries have jurisdiction over Kananaskis. You can imagine what a cat fight that must be. But, you know, the one with the money always wins and that's not the one that represents the people.
Here is something to think about when you consider the SSRP or hear about land use in Kananaskis
Bragg Creek Scarecrow Festival Gallery
Late entries added Oct. 18. Festival ends Nov. 3. The judging of the most popular scarecrows was done by popular vote. Winners were announced October 16.
The first annual Bragg Creek Scarecrow Festival officially began on October 4, 2013. Scarecrows have been popping up all over the hamlet. Brilliant, creative, beautiful expressions of folk art that enliven our community recently ravaged by a devastating flood. Many of the artworks refer to the flood with scarecrows sporting mud caked boots, water related subjects and the nod to insurance companies disputing claims. Others are tributes to our volunteer Redwood Meadows Emergency Services team who recently held the "Hero's in the Sky" fundraising event. The Banded Peak Primary school provided many of the scarecrows featuring fictional characters. Many businesses developed themes that reflect the products or services they offer.
See a photo gallery of about 100 scarecrows
Flood Mitigation Strategy
Recovering from the latest "Flood of the Century" and planning for future extreme weather events is critical to our community. On October 4 the government let us have a look at their work-in-progress on flood mitigation. I'm no expert, but it is clear this is something we need to pay attention to. They have looked at everything from what happened, how to prepare, including building berms and other infrastructure to how to develop a family emergency response plan.
Please have a look at the current Flood Mitigation planning
Highway 758 reopens
On June 20 as the surge of water flowing down the Elbow River ripped through the hamlet of Bragg Creek, taking with it tonnes of soil and gravel, it carved out a huge junk of the highway that extends beyond White Avenue and runs past the Trading Post store and Bragg Creek Provincial Park. A massive rebuilding operation has been underway since early July. The road was originally scheduled to be opened in November, but Transport Alberta and Volker Stevin pulled out all the stops and the road has been reopened in just 100 days after it was destroyed.
With the road open it is now much easier to get to the Provincial Park. Drive down White Avenue and keep going, past the river, until you see the park sign.
View a series of photos of the reconstruction project.
Where to go after the flood?
Literally, with the picnic area at Elbow Falls wiped off the face of the earth, where do we go to enjoy a picnic lunch? Allen Bill Pond looks more like a gravel pit than the glistening body of water we've enjoyed and many tables are gone. These were the primary destinations for a day-trip to Kananaskis. They were the main attractions in the most popular recreation area in Alberta. Here are some alternatives:
- Forgetmenot Pond in the Little Elbow Recreation Area at the end of HWY 66
- Elbow River Launch
- McLean Pond
- Beaver Lodge
- Visitor Information Centre
- Bragg Creek Provincial Park. Get to the park through the back door. Take HWY 66 west to the Bragg Creek turnoff. That is HWY 758. The park is a short drive down that road.
It is unfortunate that the only time a get a photo of a bird worth sharing is when one crashes into my window and sits stunned long enough for me to take a picture. At least they seldom succomb to the crash and fly away after a short while. This little guy hit the window, fluttered in the air for a few seconds, then landed on my deck. I took this photo through the window less than 1/2-metre away. These birds crawl up trees, much like a nuthatch, looking for bugs. Under normal conditions you probably wouldn't notice them as only their long curved beeks and spotted plumage are unique features.
Click here for more wildlife photos
Construction of a temporary single lane bridge over the Elbow River on Highway 66
News Update: Thursday, August 1. It's complicated. The engineering and construction of a temporary bridge over a flood ravaged river in itself is a challenge. Then you have to consider environmental impact and the interests of the contractor, Alberta Transport and Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Then you have people like me hoovering around in anticipation of the reopening of the Elbow Valley. Given all that the the first crossing of the bridge was Friday, August 2 at 4 PM.
When it reopens there will be long waits as it is a single lane bridge with a long access and egress ramps. There appears to be significant damage to some of our favoured places like Elbow Falls. It is possible that Allen Bill Pond will never be restored. This is the third time the dam that forms the pond has been repaired. Maybe there are things mother nature just can't abide.
Thanks to the Volker Stevin work crew for the long hours and effort they invested to get the alternate bridge open for us.
Take a look at the bridge reconstruction project
Watch a video of the work in progress
See photos of the impact of the flood in the Elbow Valley
This is a proposal for an emergency exit for residents of West Bragg Creek and Wintergreen in response to a disaster like a flood or wildfire when the bridge is unreliable. In the 2005 flood the bridge over the Elbow River on Balsam Avenue was briefly closed as it was considered unreliable. At that point there was no way into or out of West Bragg and Wintergreen. Again in 2013 the bridge was closed but this time for 2 1/2 days. Some folks were shut out and some shut in. I'm not aware of anyone who experienced a life threatening trauma, but it could easily happen.
More information on a second exit in case of emergency
CBC News article on the access problem
Flood Recovery Information session held at the Community Centre July, 25
The flood recovery guy said their "Disaster Recovery Program" will help people restore their property to a functional equivalent. If you lost a fur coat worth $5,000 they'll cover the cost of a $500 down parka. They'll do an infrastructure evaluation and restore the integrity of your building to the foundation. The landscape is outside of their mandate. Uninsurable assistance is available. You have to file for flood assistance and there is an approval process. Money is available for the cost of dislocation and to rebuild businesses as well as residences, although getting people back into their homes is a priority. He suggested we look at the U.S. FEMA web site for flood mitigation techniques. (See the links below)
I said we need a second exit as the bridge has proven, both in the 2005 flood and clearly in 2013, to be unreliable. In my opinion another bridge is not the solution. We need an emergency road with an exit near Kiwanis. They said that's not their problem; that we need to raise the issue with the county. I understand that it's not part of this disaster recovery, but it is a disaster waiting to happen. It will require a provincial and regional solution.
This is the provincial policy:
"Under a new policy direction announced July 14, flood victims living in flood ways in affected communities will have the choice to relocate or rebuild using funding from the Disaster Recovery Program. Residents who rebuild inside floodways will not be covered by this program in the event of a future flood, while residents living in flood fringe areas will receive future compensation for damages only if they rebuild with specific flood-proofing measures. Flood victims living in floodways will be assisted if they wish to move out of flood risk areas. Additionally, the province will amend legislation to prohibit municipalities from allowing future development in floodways."
The CBC covered the event
Provincial assistance for rebuilding and relocating
Provincial Flood Hazard Map
U.S. FEMA Plan, Prepare, Stay informed
FEMA Flood response information
Download the FEMA/Red Cross book "Repairing Your Flooded Home"
More information on the Bragg Creek Flood of 2013
It's a cold, damp depressing day in Bragg Creek
It's just the kind of day when you wake up to this message from the Infusion Restaurant in your mailbox.
Dear valued customers,
Due to the severe flooding that took place in Bragg Creek on June 20 to 23, 2013 the building/restaurant on the property has now been condemned. No losses will be covered by insurance so we cannot repair the building. We also have no plans for rebuilding, but we are trying to find a new place in the Calgary area to reopen. When that happens we will be sure to email our customers. For gift certificates that were not yet used we will accept them when we re-open.
The Infusion Contemporary Cuisine was a place of so many memories. We would like to thank every one of our valued customers for sharing in those memories with us. Thank you for your patronage and support; we will not forget to cherish you all with those times you spent with us.
Also, thank you to all of the volunteer men and women, our friends, Infusion staff and their families, and all of the people who helped Infusion clean up, keep our community together and are helping to build it back up.
Thank you from our hearts!
Air & Nok Bouphasiry
If you go to www.visitbraggcreek.com, the Chamber Commerce web site, you'll find some positive messages about local businesses struggling to get back on their feet and you should patronize them. But I've heard disturbing rumors, like the one about Loko Bar not opening until spring 2014 and that a man named Dick owned the house that crashed into the bridge and that he lost an acre of valuable property when it got flushed downstream. That rumor says that he owns the Infusion building and other properties in the hamlet that have been damaged. I hear a local B&B lost a $6,000 booking to a flood related cancellation. Since my business here failed, I don't pay much attention to local businesses and I am ill-informed, but I know this flood has been devastating for some. The Infusion was my favourite restaurant. Sad to see it go.
Congratulations to Alberta Transportation and Volker Stevin
WooHooo! As of Thursday evening July 11, the West Bragg Creek bridge to the Recreation Area parking lot is open. Actually it's a little sad. The extraordinary conditions made a visit to West Bragg a special thing. Working through a challenge is always a rewarding experience. Still a lot of work to be done, but at least we can get into the heart of the trail system.
See a photo gallery of the damage done in West Bragg Creek Kananaskis
Elbow Valley and West Bragg bridges were broken in the June 2013 flood
The bridge over the Elbow River on Highway 66 in Kananaskis is seriously damaged. Without the bridge it is impossible to get to any of the features and facilities located in the Elbow Valley. Elbow Falls, Allen Bill Pond, Forgetmenot Pont, the Little Elbow Recreation Area, Moose Mountain trailhead, all of the campgrounds, and trails that make up the most popular recreation area in all of Alberta are now inaccessible. A temporary span is under construction, but it will likely be months until the bridge can be repaired.
The bridge over Bragg Creek leading to the parking lot in the West Bragg Creek Recreation Area was closed for a bit less than 3 weeks. To access West Bragg Creek trails people had to park before the bridge and fjord the creek on a temporary bridge. The crossing was very easy and safe. Except for some minor inconveniences the trail system was open and accessible. An exception existed for horse trailers. There was no place to turn around near the bridge, so trailers had to turn and park at the Texas Gate.
More information and photos about the Elbow Valley and West Bragg Creek Flood of 2013
Progress report on the Highway 66 bridge restoration project
The flood of 2013
There was a lot of damage done and a lot of lives wrecked in the devastating flood of June 20, 2013 here in Bragg Creek. But, one of the greatest losses was the Orignal Bragg Creek Trading Post. Highway 758 was washed away just upstream of the store as the river overran its bank taking the road with it. Then it crashed into the Trading Post with a wall of water and mud. The store was a treasure for us and for all those in search of a piece of the past or a beautifully hand-crafted work of art from our First Nations. This video shows the damage done and what we've lost.
Bragg Creek Flood of 2013
Just about every June we get a huge rain that either adds to an already high water table or to rivers swollen by melting snow coming from the mountains. On June 20-23 of 2013 Bragg Creek (the one with all the water in it) and the Elbow River reached flood stage after about 170 mm of rain came down in a few days.
The result was devastating; a huge piece of riverfront property washed away, the Trading Post destroyed, buildings gone, trees down, roads closed, massive property damage in restaurants and stores. For many of us it was just stress. Limited communications and no way in or out of West Bragg Creek and Wintergreen. It's time to figure how to get an alternate exit for those whose only way to safety is a vulnerable bridge across the Elbow.
Check out some photos and information about the flooding
Read about the big picture - historical flooding
Read about the last major flood in 2005
This is a good time to provide the link to the Kananaskis Conservation Officers trail reports. These are excellent guides to conditions on the trails; particularly important at this time of year with lots of rain, and lots of mud when the snow melts.
Elbow Valley & West Bragg Creek Trail Reports
Stop Clearcut Logging in West Bragg Creek - Kananaskis Country
SustainK invite you to join those who are already petitioning Premier Redford, reminding her that K-Country should be preserved as Peter Lougheed intended back in 1977 - that the Eastern Slopes should be primarily for watershed and recreation (source: Policy for Management of Eastern Slopes) - and asking her to put in place a full and complete facilitated public consultation process BEFORE planning clear-cut operations in the West Bragg Creek and Elbow Valley corridor of Kananaskis.
Poll created January 18. As of June 18 this petition has 7,927 signatures. Their goal is 10,000
Please sign the SustainK petition
Calgary's water starts here
The forest is a critical part of the ecosystem that supplies fresh water to the city of Calgary. Take away the trees and you remove the sponge that absorbs water during winter and releases it through the spring and summer. Exposed earth erodes into the creeks and rivers choking them with sediment and loading them with heavy metals and nutrients. All of this degrades the quality and quantity of water, it can contribute to flood and drought and it adds to the cost and difficulty of cleaning the water for human use. And that's just the impact on the water. Remove the forest and you remove the habitat for animals, you remove the essence of what draws hundreds of thousands to enjoy outdoor activities, you devalue residential property values and you reduce the number of people that patronize businesses in the gateway communities.
More information on the impact Kananaskis logging will have on Calgary's water supply.
Bird's Eye View
The 5-minute HD video below shows a close-up view of the birds going about their business. I put a miniature camera unobtrusively in and near their feeding stations, providing a close-up view of the birds and their behaviour.
I take down my bird feeders during the summer in part because the birds have plenty to eat and also the feeders attract bears. So in mid-November I load up the sunflower seeds and the niger seeds to help the birds through the winter. The Black-Capped Chickadee, Nuthatch, Grey Jay and Blue Jay live here all year. During the winter the Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Pine Grosbeak and occasionally Evening Grosbeak join them. This makes for a fair amount of activity around the feeders. I used to feed the deer until wildlife officers said that attracting deer will only attract cougar, so I stopped. It really hasn't made much difference as the deer like to clean up under the feeders, eating the seeds that fall to the ground.
This pine grosbeak crashed into my window - something that happens more than I like. This photo was taken about 10 minutes after the crash while he was stunned and immobile. About an hour later a squirrel made a run at him, but he was able to fly into a tree where he stayed for another 3 hours until he was able to continue about his business.
You can click on the image to see it enlarged.
Click here for the wildlife photo page. There you'll see the animals and birds that live in the area.
Living among wildlife is one of the great things about living in Bragg Creek. The deer visit daily and other creatures appear out of the forest on occasion. Sometimes I am lucky enough to capture them on video, but most of the time they are hidden in plain sight or gone in a flash.
Here are the wildlife videos I have in my collection.
Albert Warren Bragg
At the end of the 1800's a couple of young brothers, John and Albert Bragg ran away from their home in Nova Scotia on a western adventure. They were camped out by a creek in the foothills of Alberta in 1894 when A.O. Wheeler surveyed (drew a map of) what was then the Northwest Territories for the Canadian government. That's how we got the name of our community.
John Bragg, a descendant of Albert has gained notoriety for his business acumen. According to the Globe and Mail, he now lives in "the white house which was the boyhood home of Albert Warren Bragg, John's father's uncle, who went west to try out ranching and founded the Alberta settlement of Bragg Creek. Today, Bragg Creek is a picturesque dormitory community for Calgary, and home to many of the city's business barons."
Part of Bragg's corporate empire includes Eastlink a communications company that provides Internet services for Redwood Meadows.
Read about the history of Bragg Creek here
Read the Globe and Mail article about John Bragg, "the oracle of Oxford, N.S."
The West Bragg Creek forest will never be the same again
There is only one solution to the problem of West Bragg Creek and that is to transfer jurisdiction over the northeastern section of Kananaskis to the Alberta Ministry of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. That would require a premier with vision and courage to effect such a change. I am working on a "Before and After Photo Gallery" to remind us of what we'll lose to logging.
Most of the trails in West Bragg Creek are on this Bing.com map. The markers attached to the trails have photos of the forest, many of them showing logging tape flags. The orange flags indicate where the logging will occur and the pink & black tape indicates a haul road. Some photos show the dramatic difference between a mature forest, with its open understory and a new forest which is a dense mass of trees. Along the trails you'll see stunning views of mountains and forests, there is an innukshuk and many people out enjoying the trails. There is life and energy on the trails.
Spray Lakes Sawmills will be clear cutting the forest in West Bragg Creek as of October 2012. I hope you will take the time and make the effort to let your government know that this is a really bad idea. An updated Action List is located here
This Acrobat slideshow provides a brief overview of the impacts and issues involved in commercial logging in Kananaskis.
Tsuu T'ina Pow Wow 2012 Gathering of Nations
I stopped at the original Trading Post on White Ave. recently where I learned a few interesting facts about the Pow Wow from the owner Barb Teghtmeyer. The Pow Wow attracted 5,000 visitors in 2012 and there were 1,000 dancers registered. Another fascinating fact; an adult sized jingle dress should have 365 bells attached.
This video shows the traditional dancing, drumming, singing and game playing that make up the annual celebration known as a Pow Wow. The dancers wear colourful and often dramatic traditional outfits to compete in dance competitions in categories like the grass and jingle dance.
The Tsuu T'ina are one of 45 First Nations in Alberta. The video shows which bands are covered under Treaty 7 and where the nations are located in Alberta. Everyone is welcome to attend the free Pow Wow; a traditional festival where the Tsuu T'ina play host to natives from across North America many of whom camp on the grounds in RVs or tipis.
Read the article and view a 10-minute video
Drive-by Video Shoot
Bragg Creek is a popular destination for Calgarians looking for a break from the city and as a gateway to nature and the recreational activities available in Kananaskis. There are about seventy businesses located in 5 malls in the hamlet of Bragg Creek and in separate buildings along White Avenue or Balsam Avenue. Park the car and stroll around the hamlet. Just about everything is within a 15-minute walk.
The 3 1/2 minute video below offers a peak at the hamlet and the shopping and services available there.
If you have some time and energy, you can take a walking tour of Bragg Creek starting at the Provincial Park and ending at the bridge over the Elbow River.
Follow the virtual walking tour here
Several residents have been testing the water in Bragg Creek since 2005. They measure its depth, temperature, turbity (how dirty it is) and take note of what the weather is like. Then they take a sample and test it for nitrates, chloride and phosphate. All of this data will prove very useful when we want to determine how healthy the creek is. If you want to become a citizen scientist, get in touch.
If you want to learn more about this project, follow this link.
Hike to the summit of Moose Mountain
Moose mountain stands out to the east of the other Rocky Mountains west of Calgary Alberta. That makes it accessible. It is also just 7,995 ft. tall and you can drive to the trailhead just 1,565 ft. below the summit. The hike is 4.1 km long one-way and you can usually get in and out in about 5 hours. There is a fire lookout on the summit. Many people like to climb to the summit on the summer solstice when we get 16 hours and 33 minutes of daylight. It is usually windy and often cool if not cold. Watch this 3-minute video of an ascent to the summit on the summer solstice of 2012.
Visit our Moose Mountain page where you can:
- read about the mountain
- the trail to the summit
- see photos
- and a guide to help you plan your push for the peak.
The Bragg Creek - Gateway to Kananaskis website is now on Facebook.
Do you have a favourite trail for hiking or cycling, maybe you had a great meal with super service or maybe you got a speeding ticket in the 40 km/h zones around the hamlet. Share your news and views on the braggcreekca Facebook page. Even better, share your photos of some of the cool things you've seen in and around Bragg Creek.
Bragg Creek recognized as "Historicaly Significant"
On January 17, 2012 national news organizations reported that Bragg Creek has been designated a "Historically Significant Place in Canada" due to it being the location of the first Youth Hostel in Canada. The hostel, opened in July 1933, was the work of Mary and Catherine Barclay who wanted "to enable youth to find wholesome companionship ... travelling inexpensively, and acquiring a knowledge of their neighbour's land and customs...”
There are 60 National Historic Sites in Alberta. Fort Calgary and Banff Springs Hotel are among them.
Read the press release announcing the designation
Read about the youth hostel
Finding information about Kananaskis
Finding stuff on the government's web site is like shooting a moving target, so you should check this out now before they move it. Here is a page of all the publications about Kananaskis; maps, posters, brochures, CD-Roms, digital downloads and booklets. There is a lot of great info available.
Call the Elbow Valley Information Centre for info: 403-949-4261