Saturday, September 25, 2021
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Waterton Regrowth: Two years after the Kenow Wildfire

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Two years now after a wildfire tore through Waterton Lakes National Park, work to fix much-used infrastructure continues.

Red Rock Parkway has been only open to walking, hiking and biking however, it’ll finally reopen to vehicle traffic later this fall.

As for the Akaima Parkway, Waterton spokesperson John Stoesser says that’s a much bigger project. “That Parkway, obviously very popular, was part of a construction project before the fire even hit here. So we’ve retooled that project. We will fix that damage and repave that road because it’s in need of a lot of work.”

Stoesser says part of the work along the Akamina Parkway includes hazard tree and rock scaling as well as improved parking and other things. It will close to all-access later in September to undergo extensive construction.

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He notes a lot of work has been down along both parkways in terms of rock scaling to make sure the slopes are stable, taking out a lot of loose rocks along side the roads.

Rock scaling above Red Rock Parkway earlier this summer. (Parks Canada)

Meanwhile, if you’ve been to Waterton over the past few months, you may have noticed a lot of vegetation regrowth following the wildfire.

Kim Pearson is an Ecosystem Scientist who works at Waterton Park. She says people have had an opportunity to see just how resilient nature is following an extreme wildfire. “We’ve seen a lot of regrowth in grasses and wildflowers and even some trees and shrubs, especially at lower elevations.”

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She notes berry crops for instance, especially Saskatoon berries, have really bounded back in areas that were burned, even more so than they even expected.

Pearson says they’re collaborating with a number of researchers who are studying various affects of the Kenow Fire, including the regrowth of vegetation.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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