Environmentalists are cheering a decision by the federal government to help build a wildlife crossing near Canmore.

Heritage Minister Sheila Copps announced a $3 million grant to build a passage over the Rundle Forbay Hydro Canal on Sunday. The crossing would create a safe corridor for animals travelling between Banff National Park and Kananaskis.

Stephen Legault, spokesperson for the conservation group wildcanada.net, says the pathway will make travel for animals much safer.

"Right now, wildlife are coming out of Banff National Park and finding themselves trapped in a increasingly complex maze of residental development in Canmore."

He says the crossing will take animals on a safer route around the town and along the slopes of Three Sister's Mountain and down into Skogan Pass and into Kananaskis.

"The intent is to try to keep wildlife out of people's backyards and in the bush and up in the mountains where they belong."

Legault says the crossing would be used mainly by grizzlies, wolves, elk and deer. He says the crossing could be ready within one year.