While Alberta and British Columbia cautiously move into the next phases of living with COVID-19, the Great Divide Trail Association is considering what is best for the health and safety of the trail community that we serve. With provincial and national parks re-opening, staying active in the outdoors is an excellent way to keep your body and mind healthy but we need to continue to do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19.
In accordance with Alberta and BC public health restrictions, all in-person GDTA related events, activities, and meetings with more than 15 attendees are cancelled until further notice. Events or meetings with fewer than 15 attendees will only take place if attendees are able to safely practice physical distancing. All trail building trips previously scheduled to take place in June and July have been cancelled. An announcement regarding rescheduling of modified trail building trips that adhere to public health restrictions will follow.
Hikers with plans on the GDT this summer should be prepared to change their plans. At this time, the GDTA supports single-day hikes or horseback rides on the GDT and longer (weekend or multi-day), self-sufficient trips that don’t require resupply if they are in your local area, where trails and trailheads are open. Please observe 2-metre physical distancing at all times on the GDT and avoid long-distance ‘thru’ hikes that involve resupplying and interaction with people in communities along the GDT.
To limit the potential transmission of the virus between you and others, being completely self-supported on GDT outings is essential. Stay local, bring everything you need, avoid side trips from the trail to resupply, and always Leave No Trace.
Backcountry use has the potential to add unnecessary stress to the healthcare system and put public safety staff at risk, including exposure to COVID-19, which could then impact resources to support search and rescue, so please keep your hiking plans conservative and your risk low.
Thank you for being responsible and taking precautions to keep yourself and others safe. And remember the GDT will still be there for your future long-distance wilderness adventures.
The GDTA will continue to monitor and follow the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta and BC, and provide updates as new information becomes available.
Take care out there.
President, Great Divide Trail Association