|Howse River and Pass - early morning view|
By Helge Nome
The idea of creating a shortcut highway between Alberta and British Columbia through the Howse Pass, linking the two provinces, has been around for some 50 years.
The Clearwater County Council brought this idea to the attention of two visiting members of Parliament, Blaine Calkins and Blake Richards, at the regular council meeting on June 26. The rationale behind the proposal is to provide an access route from Central Alberta into British Columbia which would shorten the travel distance to Vancouver from Central Alberta by some 95 kilometers by linking Alberta's Highway 11 to the Trans Canada Highway near Donald, British Columbia.
While there are obvious economic advantages to Central Albertans if this proposal goes ahead, there are also formidable obstacles to its likelihood of success: The Howse Pass is an area of pristine wilderness and part of a national park. Also, the Cities of Calgary and Edmonton which are linked to British Columbia via Highways 1 and 16 are unlikely to welcome competition from Central Alberta.
And, the Government of British Columbia would have to back the proposal, deemed to be very unlikely by MP Blaine Calkins.
For snapshots from the Howse Pass, check out this website