In addition to new technology, Parks Canada’s partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces continues to be an integral part of avalanche control in Glacier National Park. (CAF Combat Camera)

In addition to new technology, Parks Canada’s partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces continues to be an integral part of avalanche control in Glacier National Park. (CAF Combat Camera)

World’s most extensive avalanche detection system launched on Rogers Pass

The project stems from $95 million in funding to improve Highway 1 through Glacier National Park

As a winter storm hits Revelstoke, the world’s most extensive avalanche detection system works away.

Installation of the $3 million project was finished this year on Rogers Pass, east of Revelstoke.

The new avalanche detection network uses Doppler radar and infra sound to monitor sound and electromagnetic waves produced by avalanches. The technology is particular useful in low visibility conditions.

Gunner Levi Stoltzfus from 10th Field Artillery Regiment, applies a bearing on the sight of a 105-mm C3 Howitzer gun on Rogers Pass on 21 Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: MCpl PJ Létourneau, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

“It’s hard to see what’s happening when it’s dark and stormy on the mountains,” said Shelley Bird, Parks Canada spokesperson.

The system includes 13 infra sound panels and three radar detectors. Parks Canada avalanche officers will even receive text messages informing them that avalanche activity is occurring.

The project stems out of $95 million in federal funding that is being spent to improve vehicle congestion on Highway 1 through Glacier National Park, over the last five years. Other improvements includes lengthening of passing lanes, LED lighting on snow sheds, extending vehicle holding areas during highway closures, installing snow nets and restoring wetland habitat impacted by Highway 1.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Highway 1 improvements restoring fish habitat in Glacier National Park

READ MORE: Feds fund Avalanche Detection Network in Glacier National Park

Parks Canada said the new detection system should reduce wait times on Highway 1 due to avalanche control.

Last winter, Highway 1 over Rogers Pass was closed for more than 100 hours, which is 30 hours more than the year prior. Parks Canada aims for two hour closures for avalanche control, with some lasting up to eight with periods of high avalanche activity.

Bird said closure hours vary from year to year depending on the amount of snowfall, avalanche conditions and traffic volume. When traffic is heavy, travellers are stopped in Revelstoke and Golden for safety reasons, which results in longer closure times.

Over the long-term, Bird said, average closure times have decreased by 11 per cent.

According to Parks Canada the last time the road was closed for longer than 24 hours was ten years ago. According to the B.C. government, Highway 1 closures can cost $500,000 per hour.

Rogers Pass has one of the world’s most complex system of snownets at over two km worth. (Parks Canada)

Annual snow fall in the Selkirk mountains averages more than 12 metres. In Rogers Pass, there are 134 avalanche paths along a 40 km section. The Canadian Armed Forces uses artillery for avalanche control along Highway 1.

*story updated with long-term closure data from Parks Canada


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
Morning Start: Foot bones don’t harden until you’re an adult

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

The Revelstoke Women's Shelter Society has released an educational video about unhealthy relationships. (Contributed)
Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society educates on healthy relationships with new video

April 11-17 is Prevention of Violence Against Women Week

A 46-year-old man from Armstrong died in Revelstoke hospital after being injured in the Lumby area. (File photo)
Armstrong snowmobiler dies in Revelstoke hospital

46-year-old man injured in Tsuius Mountain area of Monashees around Lumby area

Guy Barber in front of his jewellery store at 208 Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 272)
Glimspes of Revelstoke’s past for April 8

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the time

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A five-storey, 60-unit building has been proposed for 8709 Jubilee Rd. E., Summerland. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on March 22. (Image by GTA Architecture)
Zoning, OCP amendments adopted for Summerland housing development

Council gives final readings for controversial five-storey, 60-unit housing development

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

Most Read