(June 18, 2021). Great Divide opened for 2021’s summer guided hiking season on May 31, after safely operating last summer and winter. We have special measures in place to keep our guests safe. Owner and guide Joel Hagen has received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and will receive his second dose of Pfizer on June 23.

Our Safety Measures
We have successfully run two seasons of guiding since the pandemic began. Because our trips are conducted outdoors, in small groups, and with the ability to keep safe distances from one another, we can operate safely under current Covid restrictions. Here are our operational guidelines for the coming summer season:

  • we do our pre-trip “meet and greet” information sessions over the phone or by Zoom

  • at any indoor meeting location (hotel lobby, park visitor centre), guide and guests will wear masks. Masks are not required out on the trail.

  • unless fully vaccinated, guests are asked to print and sign waivers in advance

  • there will be no carpooling: guests will self-drive to the trailheads.

  • during our tours, we will stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from our guests

  • we will provide hand sanitizer on the trail

The province of Alberta’s health department has also issued guidelines for outdoor fitness, which we are following.

A Special Offer: Weekly free Covid-19 hikes for 2021, starting May 31 through October 1
Are you a frontline or healthcare worker? This summer, as a thank you during the Covid-19 pandemic, Great Divide Nature Interpretation is offering one free hike per week to healthcare and frontline workers and their families.

Call Joel Hagen at 403-522-2735, or email info@greatdivide.ca to arrange your hike. Great Divide will take the first request for each week of the summer, subject to availability. You can also look at Great Divide’s availability calendar to see whether there’s still a hike available during your visit.

Latest updates in Banff and Alberta
On June 1, the province of Alberta launched its re-opening plan, and is now planning to fully re-open on July 1.  Restrictions have been eased, and we can welcome up to ten guests on our hiking trips.

COVID-19 information from the province of Alberta, Parks Canada, and the town of Banff
For information from public health officials, you can visit Alberta’s Coronavirus page. The Town of Banff has a great COVID-19 page, which includes current case rates for Banff National Park. As of mid-June, case rates have dropped to almost zero, and over 90% of residents have received at least one dose of vaccine.

Banff National Park is regularly updating its COVID-19 page to show what is open in the park, and what is closed. The same is true for Yoho and Kootenay parks.

Information for International Travellers
For travellers from outside of Canada, the border between Canada and the USA is currently closed to non-essential travel. This closure has been extended every month since being implemented in March, 2020, and is now in place until July 21, 2021 at the earliest. There is a strong chance there will be more extensions, and these extensions have typically been announced only 2 to 3 days before the closure is set to expire. The Canadian government has recently stated that 75% of Canadians will need to be vaccinated before the border can re-open, but at this time of writing, no negotiations on re-opening the border are scheduled. Any international travellers who manage to come to Canada must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival here. Health Canada updates its travel info website regularly.

Canada’s Vaccine Rollout
Four Covid-19 vaccines have been approved in Canada, and vaccination program is being rolled out rapidly. As of June 18, almost 65% of all Canadians have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 13% have been fully immunized. This puts Canada in the top ten of all nations for per capita vaccinations. The Canadian government estimates that all Canadians who wish to be immunized will have received their first dose by mid-summer.

Our Cancellation Policy
We will accept, without penalty, any cancellations due to travel restrictions, public health advisories, national park closures, or your contracting of COVID-19. We do not want to cause any financial hardship for guests who are unable to make a trip to the Canadian Rockies.

If your guide contracts COVID-19, you will be notified, and any trips that fall within the recovery period of the guide will be cancelled.

Since the response to the COVID-19 outbreak is in constant flux, everything listed above is subject to change. We revise this information regularly as the situation evolves.

In the meantime, we ask you to look after yourselves, your loved ones, and your friends & neighbours.

Best wishes,

Joel & Nadine