Town of Canmore

Cougar Creek

Construction on the long-term mitigation work in Cougar Creek will be starting soon. This page contains information on the Debris Retention Structure and will be updated on a regular basis during construction - keeping you up to date on impacts in the area.

Construction Timelines - Updated July 8, 2020

At this time we are still moving ahead with capital projects, this project is a key piece of infrastructure for the safety of the community. 

  • Construction has started. The multi-use trail on the west side of the creek is temporarily closed. Please see the map below for detours during this closure.
  • Construction will be completed in 2021, with final landscaping complete in 2022

Long-Term Mitigation: Debris Flood Retention Structure 

What will it look like?

  • 34m high rock-filled embankment dam (not constructed out of concrete)
  • Upstream and downstream faces covered by soil and seeded
  • 20m wide rock-cut spillway on the east abutment that includes wildlife egress areas

What will it do?

  • Existing channel and downstream culverts can accommodate 50-60 m3/s, but a natural event on the creek could easily reach 80 m3/s peak flow with 20% debris (fine sediment to large boulders, including gravel and woody debris)
  • The Structure reduces peak flow to 45 m3/s. It further reduces quantity of debris and removes the larger debris
  • The risk to downstream private and commercial properties, as well as infrastructure, is therefore reduced to an acceptable level
  • There is no water retention during regular operation (dry dam) – water flows freely through a low level outlet
  • A high capacity spillway is required to ensure flows can bypass the structure during an extreme flood event

Contact Us

For more information on the project email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sign up to our mailing list below

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For more history on Cougar Creek visit the Creek Resources Webpage

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the construction closures involve?
The closure during construction will impact climbing and hiking in Cougar Creek; all other access to the trails and scrambles in the area will remain open with the exception of blasting closures. Trails that will remain open include Montane, Lady MacDonald, Grotto Mountain and the Horseshoe loop. Do not attempt to access the closure area at, thru, or around the construction sites at any time.
Why are closures being put in place? What alternatives were considered?
The construction closure is to ensure public and contractor safety as well as timely and cost-efficient construction.
Alberta Parks and the Town of Canmore considered constructing an alternative route around the closure to access Cougar Creek Canyon. Due to the challenging steep terrain on Lady MacDonald and Grotto Mountain, Alberta Parks determined that closing access is the best alternative for ensuring public safety. 
Is it possible to hike around the closure to access the canyon?
Hiking around the closure to access Cougar Canyon is not permitted. There is a designated wildlife corridor in this area of Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park and use is only permitted on designated trails.
Construction Contract Details
The contract to construct the Debris Flood Retention Structure has been awarded to Flatiron Constructors Canada Limited. The contract was awarded at a value of $32.8 million. They bring essential experience in building large infrastructure projects in challenging locations. 

RIDGE Environmental Planning will serve as a third-party Environmental Monitor during the construction of the Cougar Creek Structure. The contract was awarded at a value of $159,000. 
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