Fernie’s Montane Trail Network will get a new trailhead in the near future, with work expected to close an existing access point.
Officials with Parastone Developments said the trailhead along Coal Creek Roadwill be closed while work is going on, but there will be alternate routes set up in the meantime.
“We understand the existing trailhead is very popular and well-used, thanks to third-party data from Tourism Fernie that proves it’s used the most out of every other trailhead around Fernie, every month of the year,” said General Manager of Parastone Developments, Simon Howse. “So that’s why we plan to have a new trailhead in place and connected to the Montane trails before we proceed with any other aspects of our master plan for the area.”
The development company said this is part of a larger effort to secure the Elk Valley’s position as one of North America’s premier outdoor recreation locations.
“We heard the community loud and clear when we reached out for feedback on the Montane project in 2022 and before that,” said Howse. “It’s important that development projects like ours add to the fabric of what makes Fernie such an attractive place to live, play and visit.”
The project will convert the existing trailhead into one that is fully accessible, with amenities for residents and visitors.
Trail users will be able to access the Montane network through a new trailhead, located at the corner of Montane Parkway and Cokato Road.
The developer will use that area for future work as well.
“Parastone will also be setting aside land for, and developing an engineered wetland that will preserve the natural environment and create a new publicly-accessible wild space in town,” said Parastone officials. “More information on that project will be released as work comes closer.”
The work making the Montane Bridge trailhead closure necessary will include a new 50+ site campground on the south side of Coal Creek.
The company said the trails themselves will not be changes, only access.
“We want to assure the public that besides some changes at the trailhead, everything else you love about the network is going to be either unchanged or further enhanced for the future,” said Howse.
Howse said they hope to get to work on the project in the coming weeks, as soon as conditions allow.