Morrissey Cottonwoods trail CLOSED

Ancient Cottonwood Trail closed due to safety risk

May 26, 2018, Fernie, BC – The Nature Conservancy of Canada is advising the public that the popular Ancient Cottonwood Trail is not currently safe for walking due to accumulated debris both on the ground and in the canopy following a wind storm. The organization is requesting that the public refrain from using the trail until further notice.

The pocket of old-growth forest grows along the Elk River near Morrissey and contains the world’s oldest recorded cottonwood trees. At 400 years old, these trees are reaching the end of their viable lifespan; as they die, the risk of falling branches and entire trees increases. This natural process feeds the regeneration of the complex forest ecosystem, but also poses risks for visitors.

Public safety is a priority for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Closing the trail is a precautionary measure to prevent the chance of injury to visitors from downed trees or falling branches. There are currently dead tree limbs suspended in the canopy (commonly known as “widow makers”) which could come down at any moment without warning.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada will be assessing the long term viability of public access to the cottonwood forest. The organization appreciates the popularity of this beautiful forest to the local community and will communicate any updates in the coming months.

For any questions regarding the closure of the Ancient Cottonwood Trail, please contact the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Canadian Rockies program office in Invermere at 250-812-0539 or [email protected]


Learn more 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its partners have helped to protect 2.8 million acres (1.1 million hectares) coast to coast. More than one quarter of these acres are in BC.

To learn more about our conservation work in BC or to donate, please call 888-404-8428.



Lesley Marian Neilson, BC Communications and Engagement Manager
Nature Conservancy of Canada
[email protected]