A snowy meadow in the Canadian Rockies. In the fore ground a few short stubby snow-covered trees surround a much taller leafless tree that has large clumps of snow tucked where leafless limbs meet the main trunk. In the background a coniferous forest sits and beyond that, some snow covered peaks jut up on from the right. The sky is bright white from the right corner, softening into cloudy white and gray streaks.

What is K-Country? And when will public transit arrive there?

TIL I learned that K-Country is short for Kananaskis Country. “The Stoney-Nakoda, Siksika, Blood, and Kootenai First Nations all have deep connection to this land,” according to Alberta Parks, one of the land managers of what is currently a popular outdoor recreation area in the Canadian Rockies about 60 miles west of Calgary.

The various governmental jurisdictions in the region are preparing for a feasibility study for launching public transit to the area, per reporting by Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter at Rocky Mountain Outlook.

As with many other transit expansions to wilderness destinations, the tentative plans have largely been prompted by traffic woes. (More on this common theme in a later post, perhaps.) The linked article mentions mobility for nearby residents; I’m glad to see that recognized. But the specific options mentioned are all seasonal, which wouldn’t do much for residents’ mobility in the winter. It’s early days since the various players are queuing up an initial study, but since there appears to be quite a lot of winter recreation in K-Country, it seems to me that year-round public transit could serve mobility needs for residents in the region, offering nondrivers better outdoor recreation access, and offering others who would prefer to leave their cars at home the option to tread much lighter.

A dramatic scene from the Canadian Rockies. A blue sky filled with dumpling puffs of clouds dominates distant mountain tops that are also reflected in the water of a large lake at their base, interrupted by a coniferous forest in the distance that bisects the image horizontally.
Somewhere in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Copyright 2009 Minniemousaunt. Used with permission under limited Creative Commons license.

Top image: “Snow balls,” somewhere in Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada. Copyright 2019 Edna Winti. Used with permission under limited Creative Commons license.

The view out to Birch Bay from a Whatcom Transportation Authority bus. The tide is low so the shoreline is off in the distance. It's a cloudy day and a peninsula sits off in the distance on the right.

Quick Guide to Whatcom County Transit Treks

One surprising thing I’ve found putting together The Transit Trekker Manual is that a few of the smaller transit agencies or their partners have created transit-based recreation guides. It’s less common that I come across these from larger agencies, TriMet in Portland being one exception (but also: not in Washington state). Whatcom Transportation Authority is one of those smaller systems — they’ve published this overview of some of the parks and trails served by bus routes.

The guide doesn’t include some of the most scenic trips you can take; I’ll be including quite a few of those in the manual, like Birch Bay, as seen in the image above.

Quick guide to Oregon by transit

I don’t seem to be able to keep up with posting while working on the (Washington State edition of the) Transit Trekker Manual. But sharing others’ great info is a pretty easy job. My partner found this useful post from Bike Portland by Taylor Griggs that recreates a guide that the local transit agency, TriMet, used to (but for unknown reasons no longer does) publishes about transit-based trips you can take all over Oregon. While it doesn’t provide a ton of detail, it’s definitely a helpful tool to get started planning trips.