Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

Ottawa spending $21M to help fire damaged Waterton Lakes National Park

Ottawa is spending nearly $21 million to help Waterton Lakes National Park park bounce back from a destructive wildfire.

The fire in September 2017 scorched about 200 square kilometres, or almost 40 per cent, of the park in southwestern Alberta.

The visitor centre and other buildings were destroyed, but crews managed to stop the fire from spreading into Waterton’s townsite.

The federal cash is to go toward fixing the 14-kilometre Red Rock Parkway, rebuilding trails, restoring a campground and researching archeological sites revealed by the fire.

Earlier this week, Parks Canada scrapped plans for a 107-kilometre cycling route along the scenic Icefields Parkway that runs between Jasper and Banff national parks.

Some of the $66 million that had been earmarked for that project is instead going toward restoring Waterton.

“In 2017, the tireless efforts of Parks Canada and partner agencies ensured public safety and protected property in and around the community of Waterton Lakes, but the Kenow wildfire had a major impact on other areas of the national park,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in a statement Friday.

“The funding being announced today will make a significant contribution to the wildfire recovery efforts in Waterton Lakes National Park.”

GALLERY: Images of the Kenow wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park and the aftermath.

Historical trading artifacts have surfaced amid the scorched earth of Waterton Lakes National Park.

Nearly a year after the Kenow wildfire tore through Waterton Lakes National Park, work continues to restore the landscape and to reopen areas still closed to the public.

The Alpine Stables horseback riding business was devastated by the Kenow fire.

Large black bear feeds on cow elk after Kenow Wildfire in Alberta.

Bear and cub feed on bull elk after Kenow Wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Family business Alpine Stables was destroyed in the Kenow fire.

A photo of Alpine Stables prior to it being destroyed by the Kenow wild fire.

On Tuesday, a southern Alberta rancher said the Kenow Mountain wildfire had “slowed with the wind switching back on it.”

On Tuesday, a southern Alberta rancher said the Kenow Mountain wildfire had “slowed with the wind switching back on it.” He said that allowed to “open gates for cattle close to the flames.”

On Tuesday, a southern Alberta rancher said the Kenow Mountain wildfire had “slowed with the wind switching back on it.”

On Tuesday, a southern Alberta rancher said the Kenow Mountain wildfire had “slowed with the wind switching back on it.”

A large plume of smoke is seen over Waterton Lakes National Park as the Kenow Mountain wildfire burns.

Extensive damage from the Kenow Mountain wildfire is seen in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Extensive damage from the Kenow Mountain wildfire is seen in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Extensive damage from the Kenow Mountain wildfire is seen in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Extensive damage from the Kenow Mountain wildfire is seen in Waterton Lakes National Park.

Crews battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park on Monday, Sept. 11.

Crews battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park on Monday, Sept. 11.

Crews battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park on Monday, Sept. 11.

Crews battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park on Monday, Sept. 11.

Crews battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park on Monday, Sept. 11.

Crews battle the Kenow Mountain wildfire in Waterton Lakes National Park on Monday, Sept. 11.

A home is seen burned to the ground near Waterton Lakes National Park where the Kenow Mountain wildfire is burning out of control.

A home is seen burned to the ground near Waterton Lakes National Park where the Kenow Mountain wildfire is burning out of control.

The Prince of Wales hotel is seen amid a cloud of smoke as the Kenow Mountain wildfire burns through Waterton Lakes National Park.

Photo of the Kenow Mountain wildfire taken from the Waterton town site on Sept. 11, 2017.

Smoke from the Kenow Mountain wildfire is seen in the Waterton Lakes area on Sept. 11, 2017.

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