Avalanche Detection Network planned for Trans-Canada Highway in Glacier National Park

The detection network is the first of its kind in Canada.

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Parks Canada Avalanche Specialists prepare to install snow nets high above the Trans-Canada Highway in Rogers Pass. Funded by the federal government, this is one of many avalanche mitigation technologies being used in Glacier National Park. Photo: Parks Canada

A planned Avalanche Detection Network on the Trans-Canada Highway in Glacier National Park will improve safety for visitors travelling through, or visiting the park, during the winter.

Catherine McKenna, Minister responsible for Parks Canada announced the installation of the Avalanche Detection Network in a statement on Monday, May 27. The network will be the first of its kind in Canada, and the largest, most extensive detection network in the world. The network will be installed with an $18 million investment through federal infrastructure funding.

The monitoring instruments, located near avalanche paths along the Trans-Canada Highway in Rogers Pass, will use radar and infrasound technology to provide real-time avalanche activity information. The system will provide early warning of increasing avalanche activity, promoting faster response, greater safety for travellers, and an overall reduction in highway closure time. Technology from the Avalanche Detection Network will provide important information for the avalanche control program, manged jointly by Parks Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces.

The installation of the Avalanche Detection Network builds upon measures put in place to reduce avalanche risk, including several new Remote Avalanche Control Systems and 2,200 metres of netting that hold the snow pack in place on steep mountain terrain where avalanches would traditionally start.