Geraldine Road closed for construction

Parks Canada is taking the first steps on the road to creating a facility for the first-of-its-kind caribou conservation breeding program.

To take those steps means that Geraldine Road is now closed to all public access until mid-June.

Geraldine Road is the unpaved seasonal road used by visitors to access the Fryatt Valley and Geraldine Lakes trailheads. It is accessible from Wabasso Road (93A) and is typically open from mid-June to late September every year. Fryatt Trail remains accessible by snowshoe or ski from Athabasca Falls until the spring thaw.

The planned 65-hectare conservation breeding centre will be constructed along Geraldine Road, approximately 30 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite.

The contract from the public tender was awarded to Landmark Solutions. The first stage of the process is staking out the building plans on site and clearing away any vegetation including the removal of hazardous trees.

“Removing dead and dying pine trees, most of which were affected by mountain pine beetle, is critical to protecting caribou from injury within the pens and from the risk of wildfire,” read a public statement from Parks Canada.

The debris piles from this clearing will be burned only on days when conditions are safe. This will result in visible smoke along Wabasso Road (93A) and near Athabasca Falls. There is no need to call 911 or emergency services to report smoke.

Travelers are advised to drive and bike with care on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93N) and Wabasso Road (93A) as they may encounter construction vehicles and equipment.

Further updates can be accessed through the Jasper National Park subscription mailing list and on the Jasper National Park website.

Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh