At the May 10 regular meeting, council moved forward on purchasing the privately owned area icon and tourism draw, Horseshoe Canyon.
The land is located at SW 27-28-21-W4M in the southeast part of Kneehill County. The land title was transferred at the beginning of July, making the purchase official.
Council discussed the Horseshoe Canyon action plan at the July 26 regular council meeting.
Immediate plans consist of making the observation area safer for visitors, as drainage has caused washouts in many areas.
The Kneehill County Agriculture and Parks Department continues to work on developing a long term plan to present to Council, including recreation areas, hiking trails and other developments that will support long term economic goals of our area.
Reeve Bob Long is excited to have the area under their wing, “Horseshoe Canyon is a gem in our prairie profile, a part of the Canadian Badlands. It’s an important attraction to maintain for our many visitors and residents to enjoy.”
Horseshoe Canyon parking area was originally under Kneehill County control through a long-term lease until the management of the property was turned over to Alberta Parks and Recreation in 1986. When the Province made plans to privatize or close the parking lot area in 1998, Kneehill County entered a partnership with the Town of Drumheller to further promote tourism in the region.
On Sept. 6, 2002, the Horseshoe Canyon conservation area was opened by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Kneehill County re-assumed ownership of the parking lot of the popular tourism stop in 2008, and pavement and bathrooms were added to upgrade the area.
With the full quarter now under ownership and operation of Kneehill County, they will be able to develop the recreation area while working with neighbours, the Alberta Nature Conservatory to the west of the parking area.