Hikers who maintain a trail that runs through the Rockies have finally restored part of the route washed out by the 2013 flood, but the group says not having official designation federally or provincially has been their biggest hurdle.
The trail, which runs along the line dividing B.C. and Alberta, begins at the U.S. border and ends north of Jasper.
Maintaining it has become a passion project for David Hockey, just one of the members of the Great Divide Trail Association.
"We're not asking for any money from the government — but if it's offered we'll take it — but we want to be able to do all of this on our own and we feel that we can, but not having an official status makes a big difference," he said.
He says recognition would mean less work applying for permits to maintain the path, and would make it easier to approach potential sponsors.
"It's just a constant struggle," he said. "Things grow like crazy out there and we only have 20-25 volunteers that go out each year, so we can only do a small section. And of course our trail is 1,200 kilometres long, so we have a lot of work ahead of us."
Brad Vallaincourt with the association says clearing the route is a lifelong commitment.
"It's something we're potentially going to be working on our whole lives because a flood of 2013 could happen again in a few years and we're going to have to go out and fix it again, but that's what we want to do," he said.
Parks Canada says it hasn't been contacted by any hiking groups seeking recognition in the past few years.
Designation possible, says province
Under the South Saskatchewan Regional Trail plan, the Great Divide could receive official designation here in Alberta as early as 2016.
"They're going through the process of how do we get all these partners and everyone to agree that these routes need to link up and be designated, but anything that's in actual public land will be designated under the regional plan," said Chara Goodings with Alberta Environment and Parks.
"So all trails should be identified as motorized, or non-motorized, protected for wildlife or habitat, and will be designated with signage, etc."
She says the province is working with the Great Divide Trail Association, and other groups like it.