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Big Hill Springs Provincial Park to close for construction until next year

Big Hill Springs, a popular provincial park in southern Alberta, will be closed in August until next summer.

Popular park includes waterfalls, fish hatchery ruins

A waterfall at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, located northeast of Cochrane, is pictured in this October 2018 photo. The park will close from August 2020 to summer 2021 for a refurbishment project. (Sarah Rieger/CBC)

Big Hill Springs, a popular provincial park in southern Alberta, will be closed in August until next summer.

Alberta Parks said it will be upgrading all parking areas, picnic areas and trails in the park, according to an advisory posted to its website.

A map shows that the trail upgrades will include the creation of two new loops, a refurbishment of the main creek trail, and the decommissioning of a trail that leads outside of the park's boundary. 

Due to the park's small size, all facilities will be under construction at the same time, Alberta Parks said, requiring a closure of the entire park to visitors. 

The park will reopen in summer 2021 to ensure replanted areas are well-established before visitors return.

A map shows the planned upgrades and changes to Big Hill Springs Provincial Park. (Alberta Parks)

The day-use park, which includes a trail loop and picnic area, is located roughly 10 kilometres northeast of Cochrane or 30 kilometres northwest of Calgary.

It's usually open year-round, and features small waterfalls, the ruins of a fish hatchery and creamery, and unique rock formations called tufa — a limestone that forms when water pours over a cliff or bubbles up from a spring and evaporates under certain conditions, leaving calcite to crystallize and build up mounds of rock.

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