Leaf-peeping and elk-bugling along the Chief Mountain International Highway remain options in Waterton Lakes National Park, but the rest of Glacier National Park’s Canadian cousin will need a lot of repair time.
“The Red Rock Parkway and Akamina Parkway remain closed for a while,” Waterton spokesman John Stoesser said Tuesday. “It’s too hazardous to drive there. There are still lots guardrails burned away and lots of trees to take care of. It will be some time before people can get into larch country in Waterton.”
The Kenow fire burned 38,100 hectares (94,147 acres) in and around Waterton’s boundaries. It scorched the grass right to the edge of the Prince of Wales Hotel overlooking Waterton Township, burned the park’s visitor center to the ground and blackened most of the low-elevation valleys leading to Cameron Lake and Red Rock Canyon.
Some areas and trails on Waterton’s eastern portion have reopened to the public, including the Crypt Lake, Wishbone and Vimy trails. More areas may open as fire rehabilitation crews complete their repair work.
The Kenow fire started on Sept. 11 in the Cameron Valley and burned its way out over the park’s northeastern borders by that night. It also spread across the British Columbia provincial border into the Akamina-Kishnina Provincial Park.