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Waiparous, Canada Forest 4Wheeling - Exploring The Wild Waipararous

Posted in Features on February 1, 2006
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Not far from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, there is a section of forest known as the Waiparous (why-prus), and it is one of those few amazing sections of wild that off-roaders are still allowed to explore. This section of forest is used by loggers, ranchers, and off-roaders on quads, bikes, and 4x4s. The trails are mostly steep climbs and descents along laser-straight "cutlines" which were cleared by logging companies for seismic purposes.

Cory Hanson's '89 Toyota rolls around on 42-inch Irok tires and Unimog 404 Portal axles. Even in Canada these high-clearance axles are a bit hard to track down and have a 50/50 record of breakage. If you can find them and keep them together, they offer a clear advantage in deep ruts and over diff-grabbing rocks.

We spent two days on the trails of Waiparous-one on the Cow Lake and Owl Creek trails, which are rated for milder built rigs; and the next on Killer Cutline, where a steep rutted uphill climb sorted the big dogs from the puppies. We flew up for a three-day weekend and a welcome reprieve from the concrete jungles of Southern California, and were amazed at the awesome scenery of the surroundings, but also bummed-out to hear rumors of possible future closures of this area. Even with the enormous Banff wilderness area adjoining it, environmentalists believe only their select few should get access to all the land, and only by certain means. Hopefully all the parties will be able to discuss their respective uses of the land, and those in power will see that everyone is entitled to have a place to enjoy some wilderness whether by foot, hoof, handlebar, or steering wheel. We would hate to see it closed before we were able to return with our own 4x4 for another long weekend. Our friends at arranged this group run and they have online maps of the Waiparous area if you want to go.

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