InformationThis page was created to point out a potential / probable change in access to several mountains described here on SP and in various published scrambling guides, including Alan Kane’s SCRAMBLES IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES.
The Atlas Road, AKA Allison Creek Road, is scheduled to be closed in phases over three years beginning in August, 2012.
This will potentially drastically impact access to Mount Ward, Window Mountain, Allison Peak, and possibly Crowsnest Mountain.
If you are planning a trip after 2012 to this area to climb any of these mountains, you should check out the road status before going or you could end up seriously disappointed on the day of your climb.
Negotiations to keep the road open have apparently failed, but I suppose there is some hope that a compromise to keep at least part of the road open might be reached.
Here is the latest article that I could find on the subject – I am copying it here because stuff disappears from the Web.
Link to the article: Crowsnest Pass Promoter
Atlas Road prepares to close
By Joni MacFarlane Editor
Posted 1 month ago (my note – this would be July of 2012)
Despite attempts by the municipality to work toward a solution, a popular road used by recreationalists will be closing in mid-August.
Atlas Road is a privately owned road that was originally built by the forest industry to haul logs. Over the years, it was expanded to a length of 42 kilometres and forms a connection to the Dutch Creek Road that links up with the Forestry Trunk Road.
It has become well known as access to the backcountry by quad and snowmobile riders and its usage has increased significantly over the years.
Atlas Road north from Highway 3 is within municipal control for 2.6 kilometres. After that, Spray Lake Sawmills owns the road.
As Spray Lake Sawmills winds down its operations that utilize the road, it will see limited log truck traffic over the next year and then no usage for the next 20 years after that.
“The Road has gradually been deteriorating and constitutes a growing environmental and safety liability,” said Spray Lake Sawmills. “We are now faced with the dilemma of either repairing the road to accommodate its current multi-use activities or decommission the road to prevent further environmental impacts and ensure the public’s well being is safeguarded.”
As reported in The Promoter in February 2012, the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass was asked for help in the fight to keep the road open by South West Alberta Trails Foundation (SWAT).
The organization was asked to submit a plan to the province to address the future of the road and said Atlas Road had become a key component to the economic well-being and quality of life for residents and visitors to the Pass.
They had requested the municipality encourage the province to designate Atlas Road as a provincially maintained road to keep it open for use by two-wheel drive highway vehicles.
The municipality wrote to the province to encourage it stay open, but rejected a request from Spray Lake Sawmills to contribute financially to keeping the road open.
Council members said that as the majority of the road was in the M.D. of Ranchlands, it was the province’s responsibility to keep the road open, not the municipality’s.
Spray Lake Sawmills reported that although various levels of government, industry and recreational interests have met, they were “not successful in mustering enough resources to cover the cost to rebuild the road to a useable state” and the road will be decommissioned.
All bridges and culverts will be removed and access controls and cross drains will be installed.
Reconstruction will be phased in over three years but the road will be closed to the public as of Aug. 13. (End of article)
(Note – as of late August, only the “Phase One” part of the road was closed.)
Here is a photo of the sign at the beginning of the Spray Lake Sawmills part of the road as of late August 2012.
One further note on the road – it is truly deteriorating badly with numerous very rough sections and several places that are close to washing out in the first 14 Km.