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Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

A Parks Canada staff member has written on the "Jasper Trail Alliance" facebook page that the Cavell Meadows trail will be closed until July 15 to give the meadows a chance to dry out. (Posted on June 26, under "recent posts by others".)

This is about two weeks later than the usual time when the trail opens, and is due to the huge amounts of snowfall we had last winter, and the cool, rainy spring and early summer we have had since.

This is unfortunate for those visiting before that time who want to hike the trail, but is absolutely necessary to protect the fragile subalpine ecosystem up there. When the meadows are wet and/or snowy, people wander off the trail to avoid those spots. With such a short growing season at that elevation, the trampled vegetation doesn't have a chance to recover. Over time, this creates braided, erosion-prone trails. Because it is such a high-use area, it can be literally "loved to death" if not protected from overuse when vulnerable.

Philadelphia...
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1. Re: Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

Thanks for this posting. I was going to hike there in the next few days.

Jasper, Canada
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2. Re: Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

You're welcome! Don't forget to check the online trail report for current conditions. They seems to be updating it every day now: www.pc.gc.ca/apps/tcond/cond_e.asp…

Or drop in to the trail office in the Parks Canada InfoCentre in downtown Jasper - it's the stone building across from the totem pole, kitty-corner to the train station.

Jasper, Canada
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3. Re: Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

Well it appears that it may be closer to the end of July before the Cavell Meadows trail will fully open. A bit of it is now open, to the junction with the climber's trail - going this far will give you a wonderful view of the Angel Glacier and Cavell Pond.

An update from Parks Canada says that over 60% of the trail above that point is still covered in snow up to and over 1.5m deep, and that it will likely be at least another 2 weeks before the rest of the trail open, depending on the weather. The photo that was included with the update leaves no doubt as to the trail conditions - it looks like winter!

The reason for the closure is that alpine meadows are at their most sensitive when a thin layer of snow covers the meadows and the trail. The trail is difficult to find and/or sloppy, so hikers leave the trail, trampling vegetation that is just beginning to come out of dormancy. This vegetation has a preciously short growing season and little time to recover from these misplaced footseps. Trails through the meadows will not open until conditions are dry enough to prevent damage.

One alternative I can suggest is the Bald Hills trail, especially the meadows above the look-out. There are still some snow patches up there, but I was there a few days ago and the flowers are out and incredible, and the views of Maligne Lake, and the valley and peaks in behind the Bald Hills is stunning.

Edited: 11 July 2012, 16:11
Rainham, United...
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4. Re: Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

it was closed last week when we were there :(

the notice did say it would be open on 15th july at the very earliest, so we may have to go back at some time :)

Edd

Newtown, PA
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5. Re: Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

krp, thanks for the info and link.

Should I bring my Keens for our trip with all the wet trails? I wasn't planning to but the conditions have me wondering. We'll be in Jasper the first 3 days of August so I'm hoping the Cavell Meadows trail is open by then.

6. Re: Cavell Meadows closed until July 15, 2012

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