Efforts began this week to ensure the life of Drumheller’s famous Hoodoos is as lengthy as possible, as construction on metal walkways started Tuesday.
Access to the Hoodoos, one of Alberta’s most popular and recognizable attractions, will be closed for the next coming months.
Walkway construction, which will ensure improved access for the public and protection of this provincial historic resource, is projected to be completed in early 2011.
The planned walkway is said to be noninvasive.
Construction isn’t the result of major incidents of late, but the museum has long recognized the importance of keeping the landmark in good condition.
“Undoubtedly, anytime someone carves their initials into something like that, it’s going to accelerate that erosion,” said Tyler Eddy, project manager at the Tyrrell.
The Tyrrell didn’t have estimates of the expected lifetime of the Hoodoo’s, but Eddy said the important thing is to retain the cap-rock– if it disappears the softer sandstone underneath erodes faster.
“By removing direct access and providing alternate circulation around the site we can protect the main cluster of Hoodoos without appearing to fence them in, improve visitor safety in poor weather and enhance the stunning views and photography opportunities that visitors cherish,” said Andrew Neuman, Executive Director of the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
A portion of the existing path will remain, but metal stairs will be put overtop the shale stepping stones, and a viewpoint will be added behind the site.
Since 2006, the Royal Tyrrell Museum has been working with stakeholders to preserve and protect the Hoodoos through on-site staffing and interpretive programs and signage.
However, with over 50,000 annual visitors having largely unrestricted access to the site, the Hoodoos are deteriorating at an accelerated rate.
Formed by the effects of erosion caused by water, wind, and frost, the Hoodoos have become internationally recognized icons of Alberta’s badlands.