The hidden momentum of beginner trails in Jasper National Park

The residents of Jasper, AB, are typical of most residents in mountain towns for their ability in the outdoors. Whether on bike, foot, or horseback, most would be quite at home on a back country expedition or on above alpine technical trails.

It's a wonder, then, that the front country trails in Jasper National Park are so beginner friendly. The Jasper Discovery Trail, a beginner friendly trail that goes around the town site, is one part of the network. It allows many of the visitors from outside the town, who are often less comfortable in the back country away from civilization, a chance to experience nature in a safe and fun way.

The benefit of having an extensive network of beginner trails is huge for both the beginners who use them and the advanced users whose trail interests lie elsewhere. Not only do beginner friendly trails make great connectors for advanced and intermediate users to access the back country and more difficult trails further away, they also help to progress the skill and desire of new users.

Quite simply, beginner trails have a hidden momentum. They slowly re-introduce people into nature and help beginner users become advanced, creating a stronger argument for more beginner – and advanced – trails.

The trail project in Jasper we tackled was a shared-use beginner trunk trail to help steer people away from walking on the busy road and onto the trail. With the help of youth from the local stewardship program on Thursday, club members and park staff on Friday and Saturday we finished a small connector trail from the pine lodge resort up onto a benchcut trail with beautiful views of pyramid lake.

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