National Park News

Volunteers Make Great Progress on Pocahontas Trails!

Parks Canada photo
Parks Canada photo
Canada’s national parks are gateways to nature, adventure, and discovery, as visitors coming in from the east know very well as they are greeted by a spectacular sight as they enter the park. The looming limestone cliffs of Roche Miette tower above the historic Athabasca Valley and the home of an early coal mining community known as Pocahontas.
Pocahontas makes for a fascinating first stop for visitors: a place with three great short walking and hiking options for families and cultural history buffs of all ages.
The trails include a short wheelchair friendly paved loop amongst the former industrial area amidst some of the crumbling cement foundations.  A second short, but very steep loop climbs to the top of the hillside overlooking the area, where commanding views across the valley can be found.  
For summer campers, the Pocahontas campground, just up the valley, makes for a pleasant stroll.  Visitors can climb the steep trail to the upper loop and walk to the location of lesser known Punchbowl Falls or enjoy a pleasant forest stroll full of wildlife tracks in winter.
Over the past two years, volunteers from Parks Canada’s Park Steward programs have been busy with sightline clearing work on the trails and day-use areas. Working by hand and using trail standards set by the Jasper Trail Alliance, volunteers have successfully restored most of the sightlines on the lower and upper loops and begun taking on the willows and buffaloberries that crowd out parts of the trail past Punchbowl Falls to the campground.  In particular, a number of important groups have made volunteering on Pocahontas trails a part of their time in the park.  They include the Alberta Junior Forest Wardens-Glory Hills chapter, Parks Canada Campus Club at Concordia University in Edmonton, Go International volunteers and employees of the Pocahontas Cabins working for Mountain Park Lodges.
These efforts come from more than 80 individual volunteers who have donated more than several hundred hours of time to trail stewardship at Pocahontas.  Parks Canada would like to thank them along with those who continue to chip in working in other areas nearby, including taking care of an old cemetery, for their efforts. These individuals’ efforts truly demonstrate that Canada’s national parks, belong to all Canadians. If you’d like to join in with taking care of Jasper National Park’s Pocahontas area in the future, email jasper.volunteers@pc.gc.ca.