After over a year of assessing the situation, Alberta Parks (http//www.albertaparks.ca) sent heavy equipment to fix the Rock Lake Road access to Rock Lake and Willmore Wilderness on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. We passed the fellow working the backhoe and grader on our way to the Osprey nest (the female is sitting, by the way – hooray!). Surely, I think, surely they’re not going to just push more gravel on the road – like they did last year and have it all end up in the willow AGAIN. NOPE – this year, in addition to pushing more gravel onto the road, a trench was dug on the north side of the road. I just shook my head on the way back across the newly gravelled/rather mushy and now ditched road. May we would get lucky and it wouldn’t rain for the rest of the year . . .
The rain started again late Tuesday afternoon. And it didn’t stop raining – heavily – until between 2 and 3 a.m. Friday (June 21). Being curious, I took a drive down to Rock Lake on my way back from Hinton on Wednesday (June 19) with a load of supplies – only 24 hours after the heavy rain had started. Yep, I think, another inch or two of rain and this new ditch will overflow and Jackson Creek will AGAIN claim the road.
When our guests (a delightful couple from the UK) came in on Thursday, they mentioned that there appeared to be some flooding around Calgary and said they’d heard that the TransCanada was closed, as was the Icefield Parkway. After reading the alerts and evacuations posted on The Weather Network, I checked the Alberta Parks web site to see alert information for our area. NONE. Of course, there was no mention that the Rock Lake Road has been ‘fixed’ either . . . Now, where is that charming Communications Officer when you need her?
Gosh – looks just like a flooding creek, eh?
And, yes, the thousands of taxpayer dollars are in the willows or on their way to the Arctic.
Are there campers and/or outfitters stranded at Rock Lake? Most likely, yes.
Ran into two Parks people (Ted, was that you? If so, sorry I didn’t recognize you – you’ve grown a beard!) parked in the middle of the road by the Munn Creek bridge. No doubt checking the erosion on the bridge approaches. The approaches are holding, by the way, even though Munn Creek is rockin’ and rollin’.
I was told that Parks was unable to come up with a more permanent solution to the Rock Lake access/Jackson Creek issue due to the Navigable Waters Act – which apparently prohibits man-made ‘interference’ of natural creeks/rivers. Well . . . hang on now. Jackson Creek was bermed and channeled (in the 60’s?) presumably to prevent the flooding/access issue we’ve been having? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to fix the berm that Jackson Creek broke through two years ago and dig out the gravel and downed trees that have forced the creek to re-route and claim the Rock Lake Road? I was told that this solution was too much bureaucratic hassle. So, am I to understand that Parks will continue to throw taxpayer dollars into the willows and the Wild Hay River? Or, perhaps, close Rock Lake and the southern access into Willmore Wilderness because it’s just too much hassle?
When does logic or common sense prevail? In the words of the Parks personnel . . . “Well, it’s government”.
AND, by the way, there is still no alert information about Rock Lake on the Alberta Parks (http://www.albertaparks.ca/rock-lake.aspx) web site.
Until next time . . . Happy Trails!