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Page added on April 22, 2017

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In Case of Nuclear War…

In the 1960’s, during the “Cold War” a company decided to build a high-tech, ultra-secure storage facility, overlooking Lac des Arcs near Canmore, Alberta. A deep tunnel was dug into Mt. McGillivray, along with several chambers, or storage rooms. It had hoped to use the facility, located 200 metres below the mountain’s western slope to store and protect the most important documents of the day. In the event of a catastrophic happening, man-made or from natural disasters, data and documents could be protected and preserved. The paranoia of a nuclear war made the project a good idea at the time nevertheless the idea was abandoned when the Cuban Missile Crisis passed.  The caves or bunkers were deserted forever.

When we travel from Calgary to Banff we take a short break at the rest stop at Lac des Arcs, the lake about 18 km. east of Canmore on Highway #1. Most people remember the area as it has a huge cement plant on the far side of the lake. On the other side of the highway across from the rest stop there is an easy 2 km. long trail to these abandoned caves and it can be used year round. Great views of the lake while walking along the hiking trail are an added bonus. The best thing is – it is another FREE! Alberta sight, plus there are washrooms at the start of the trail.

Bring along a couple of good flashlights and a picnic basket and make a day out of it. If you want to make a full day outing and you still have time after the bunkers, I would also recommend a leisurely walk along the Heart Creek Trail, starting east from the same parking lot. This trail takes you over 9 bridges with falls at the end of the easy trail.

Let’s get out and enjoy Alberta’s beautiful and natural attractions!

Steve Tarzwell









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