Part of the embankment along Wishart Trail at Gaetz Lake Sanctuary collapsed last week. (Photo from Facebook)

Part of the embankment along Wishart Trail at Gaetz Lake Sanctuary collapsed last week. (Photo from Facebook)

Red Deer trail partially closed after embankment collapse

Portion of Wishart Trail at Gaetz Lake Sanctuary impacted

A chunk of embankment that gave way along a Gaetz Lake Sanctuary trail late last week has forced the closure of a section of Wishart Trail.

The damage stretches about 12 metres along the length of the trail, and barricades are set up at each end of the site.

“We lost about two metres of trail side, from the edge of the trail to the embankment,” said Todd Nivens, executive director of the Waskasoo Environmental Education Society

“You wouldn’t want to fall over the side. It’s definitely a hazard right now.”

Some poplar trees, saplings and brush slid down into the forest, taking more vegetation with it, when the embankment collapsed.

Early morning trail walkers discovered the damage on Friday and alerted Kerry Wood Nature Centre staff who immediately closed the trail.

Instead of being a four-km loop trail, now it’s a two-km out and back trail.


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Nivens said the amount of rain lately probably caused the embankment to give way. There are also mineral springs in the hillside that could have undermined upper layers. Multiple city departments will be involved in assessing the site and repairs.

“It will be a complicated endeavor. It’s really narrow so even the challenge of getting equipment in there is going to be something to overcome. There is a site meeting on Thursday morning to discuss what the plan is going forward.”

He was not sure how much time was needed to complete the work.

“It’s going to take as long as it’s going to take, and I know that’s not the answer that people want. Thanks for everyone being patient.”


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Nivens said elsewhere in the sanctuary, the rain has fortified the lakes.

“We’re happy for the water. The lakes are in really good shape. Biodiversity explodes when those lakes are full. They’ve got a nice influx of water this year and lots of water coming down the creek to feed into them from the south end.”

He said wildlife in the city also benefited from the rain which has helped vegetation thrive up and down the river valley, providing both food and cover.

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Kerry Wood Nature Centre