Partnering to bring three new huts to the Castle Wildland Provincial Park

 
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A Historic Partnership Announcement

On Monday, April 14th at MEC Calgary, the Alberta Government announced a $700,000 commitment over the next two years to help build three new all-season huts in Castle Wildland Provincial Park in partnership with The Alpine Club of Canada. These huts will become part of the ACC hut network, so this is huge news for us!

“The ACC is excited to partner with the province of Alberta in bringing affordable backcountry accommodation to the public. This new recreational offering in Castle Wildland Provincial Park will be a draw for many Canadians who wish to experience the best of what Alberta’s natural landscape provides," says Lawrence White, our executive director.

In the words of Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks: "The ACC is the right partner."

 High above the South Castle River on a ridge to the east of the South Castle watershed. Photo courtesy of Connie Simmons.

High above the South Castle River on a ridge to the east of the South Castle watershed. Photo courtesy of Connie Simmons.

Adding to the hut network

The three huts will be located in a rough northwest-southeast line, beginning at an access point off the Beaver Mines Lake Road and continuing to a site near Bovin Lake.

 Three new huts will allow hut to hut hiking and skiing in Castle Wildland Provincial Park.

Three new huts will allow hut to hut hiking and skiing in Castle Wildland Provincial Park.

After the huts are built, the ACC will manage operations, maintenance and administration of all three, adding to our current inventory of 33 huts and further solidifying our role as stewards of the largest network of backcountry huts in North America. In the news conference, Minister Phillips also alluded to finding more opportunities for other possible hut experiences in Alberta Parks in the future. We'll let you know if we hear anything on that.

Accessible hut

One of the three huts planned for the Castle will be designed, constructed and located to be as fully accessible as possible for users with limited mobility. It will be the first accessible backcountry hut in Alberta’s provincial parks and the beginning of an ongoing effort by the provincial government to further break down barriers to parks access. Minister Phillips' words on this were: "Everyone deserves to get outside; they need to be properly supported to do so."

 Castle Wildlands Provincial Park

Castle Wildlands Provincial Park

Timeline

There isn't a hard timeline for the opening of the huts or when they will be available for booking, but we do know that the province is currently finishing up the design phase right now with an eye toward beginning construction of the first hut this spring. We'll pass on more information to our readers and our members as soon as we get it. Overnight rates are expected to be in line with our existing hut rates of $40 and $30 (members).

Huts and the environment

ACC huts play an increasingly important role in reducing the environmental impact of backcountry travel in wilderness areas and the ACC is an acknowledged leader in the environmentally responsible operation of backcountry facilities. Through ongoing research efforts, the Club seeks ways to further reduce the footprint of backcountry visitors through the use of environmentally-friendly technologies.

The Alberta government described this hut announcement as a continuation of the vision of the Castle Parks which prioritizes conservation and headwaters protection along with recreation.

Thank you for supporting this effort to conserve mountain environments and help us provide low-impact access to backcountry recreation! 


The ACC knows backcountry huts

 Elizabeth Parker Hut.

Elizabeth Parker Hut.

The ACC currently manages and maintains 33 backcountry huts, which is the largest hut network in North America and includes everything from family-friendly huts in alpine meadows, backcountry powder paradises to remote climbers' refuges and everything in between. 

Browse our huts or call our reservations line at 403-678-3200 ext 0 between 8:30am and 9:30pm any day of the week — we'd love to talk to you.

To see where all of our huts are located, check out this great map.