Dogs are now legally banned from several cross-country ski trails in Banff and Yoho national parks.

The dog prohibition applies to groomed trails in the Fairview Loop, Moraine Lake Road, Telemark trails, Highway 1A (with the exception of the existing dog sled tour concession area), Cascade Valley, Spray River Trail, Goat Creek and Spray River, Redearth Creek and a section of Tunnel Mountain trailer court. The ban is in effect until mid-April.

“It’s really about understanding that there’s multiple users on trails,” said Greg Danchuk, visitor experience manager for Banff National Park.

“A dog could damage a track set, and we want to leave some of the trails in better condition than they might be if dogs were allowed on them.”

In Yoho National Park, dogs are not allowed on signed cross-country ski trails when snow covered, which includes Kicking Horse Trail, Tally Ho Trail, Emerald Lake Connector, Emerald Alluvial Fan loop and Emerald Lake Horse Trail.

Anyone caught with a dog on these designated trails in Banff and Yoho national parks could be charged under the Canada National Park Act and face a possible court fine of up to $25,000.

Some of these ski trails, such as the Cascade and Spray River valleys, also fall within prime habitat for wildlife such as wolves and cougars – and dogs have been known to attract such animals.

“That’s a consideration for sure,” said Danchuk. “Dogs always have to be on lead in the park regardless, and that’s a safety thing for wildlife and people.”

This is the third winter where Parks Canada is promoting cross-country skiing on track set trails at Tunnel Mountain.

The dog ban in the area only applies to rows 500-700, Village 1 Loops G, H, J, K.

“We’re trying to make that into a little hub; a place you can start fat biking from, cross-country ski and hike or walk,” Danchuk said. “We’ve designated some of those lanes as no dogs, but on rows below 500-700 you can walk dogs.”

Parks Canada has also put out a new winter trails brochure this year with several recommendations for trail use.

“They are recommendations only, but we’re trying to make it as best as possible for the varied interests people are looking for,” said Danchuk.



Article Source: Rocky Mountain Outlook

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