Blue Rapids Trail and Wetland Enhancement

Gen7 worked with the Eagle Point Blue Rapids Parks Council and Alberta Environment and Parks to enhance off-highway vehicle trails and wetlands within Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area (Blue Rapids) along the North Saskatchewan River just outside of Drayton Valley, Alberta. Almost the entire off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail system is located on existing, operating industrial dispositions that pre-dated the establishment of Blue Rapids Provincial Recreation Area. Gen7’s work included:

  • Developing a plan and budget for trail creation, enhancements and restoration, as well as all wetland crossings and restoration to minimize future impacts;
  • Secured funding (approximately $380,000 from outside sources) and established partnerships to implement project;
  • Co-designed the trail layout, including consideration of water levels, multiple (potentially conflicting) uses, and working on oil and gas dispositions;
  • Obtained all regulatory approvals for trail and wetland enhancements (Water Act, Alberta Wetland Policy, Public Lands Act, Agreements to work within a Provincial PRA and on industrial dispositions);
  • Completed enhancement of the severely degraded Blue Rapids OHV trail system (total 8.5 km);
  • Installed four bridges (three engineered over watercourses, two of which inaccessible by road);
  • Watercourse assessments and mitigation efforts considering fisheries species at risk present, including ongoing monitoring to maintain compliance with Water Act approval;
  • Large and small mammal monitoring of trail use with wildlife cameras;
  • Installation of five wetland crossings of trails to mitigate water quality impacts over the long term;
  • Designed and had engineered drawings for bridges meeting AEP and COP standards (none were available at this time);
  • Provided approximately $80,000 in in-kind contributions, and secured considerable additional in-kind from the community;
  • Established a partnership with University of Alberta and secured a Masters Student. K. Widenmaier sat on supervisory committee for Master Student investigating reclamation treatments of former OHV trails; and
  • Completed work within the available budget, including unforeseen costs such as bridge engineering.

Photos of final product.

Construction photos.

Before photos.