Field Trips

Pre-meeting Field Trip (September 21st, 2017):  Coals of the Lower Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Southern Alberta Plains region and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

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On arrival in Calgary, registrants are encouraged to stay for the night of Sept 20th at the Wyndham Garden Inn, Calgary Airport and bring all luggage and belongings with them on the trip. The field trip will depart from the lobby of the Wyndham Garden Inn, on the morning of Sept 21st and proceed North East into the Horseshoe Canyon to view outcrops of the coal-bearing Lower Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation (HSCF). The HSCF produces subbituminous coal for thermal power generation from several large open pit mines in the Southern Alberta Plains region. Over the last 20 years, it has also become a target zone for extensive CBM/CSG production. HSCF coals, non-marine sandstone, siltstone, shale and mudstones were deposited on expansive fluvial plains and are well exposed in the Drumheller valley of south central Alberta. This is also a geographically unique area known as the “Badlands”, an arid region with distinctive landforms carved by wind and water erosion which commonly leaves towers capped by resistant sandstones, locally known as “HooDoos”.

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Also located in the Badlands valley near Drumheller, is the world-famous Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (https://tyrrellmuseum.com/) central to one of the richest dinosaur deposits in the world. The trip will include lunch at the museum; an opportunity to visit one of the finest dinosaur collections in the world; and a behind-the-scenes tour by resident paleontologists of the world-famous dinosaur research facility headed by Dr. Phil Curry.  A more recent addition to the museum is a collection of fossils from the Burgess Shale and a reconstruction of the primitive lifeforms that inhabited the Lower Cambrian seas of the Burgess Shale. For background information, go to:  http://www.burgess-shale.bc.ca/exhibit.

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Photo by Tyrell Museum

The tour bus will return to the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, downtown Calgary at approximately 6.30pm.

Registrants must contact the hotel directly to book accommodation for the night of Sept 20th at the Wyndham Garden Inn, Calgary Airport.

http://wyndhamgardencalgary.ca/.

Tel: 403 516 2266.

We have a block booking there for 30-45 people at a special room rate of CAD$135.00 per night. Please refer to TSOP 2017 when booking to obtain this rate. Please note, this rate is only available to TSOP members who book BEFORE Sept 5th.

Post-meeting Field Trip: Coals and source rocks of the Canadian Rockies and Burgess Shale

There will be three options for a post-meeting field trip:

Options 1, 2: Three-day tour including hikes, Sept-25-27, 2017

Registration fees include transportation, accommodation, packed lunches and BSGS fees.

Maximum no of participants: 24

Option 3: One-day tour departing from and returning to Calgary on Sept 25th, 2017

Registration fees include transportation and packed lunches

Maximum no of participants: 50

Registration Fee: $120.00

Option 1 is a three-day trip to view coals and source rocks of the Western Canada Basin. The highlight of the tour is a guided hike to the famous Burgess Shale, near Field, British Columbia. The Walcott Quarry on Mount Burgess is a UNESCO World Heritage site where, soft-bodied marine fauna of Lower Cambrian age discovered by Charles D. Walcott in 1909 and highlighted in “Wonderful Life” by Stephen J. Gould (1989) are preserved in the Burgess Shale Formation.

Maximum number of participants: 12 (A limit of 12 is set by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation and therefore registration will be on a first come- first served basis).

Day 1: This trip will depart from the Hyatt Hotel, Calgary and travel west along the Trans-Canada Highway into the Foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains stopping to view the type section of the Mississippian Exshaw Fm. at Jura Creek, an organic-rich, mature source rock for Mississippian oils in the western Canada Basin; and semi-anthracites of Jura-Cretaceous age and the coal mining museum in Canmore. Continuing west through the Kicking Horse Pass into British Columbia, the tour will offer spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies and the famous Canadian Pacific Railway and the spiral tunnels in Yoho National Park. The day will end with a gourmet dinner in the Truffle Pigs Restaurant of the Kicking Horse Inn in the small town of Field, British Columbia where the group will stay overnight.

Day 2: This involves a day-hike to the Burgess shale led by experienced guides provided by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation. This is an 11- hour round trip hike to the famous Walcott Quarry on Mount Burgess to view the outcrop and fossils of the famous Burgess Shale Formation.

The group will return to the Kicking Horse Inn for dinner and an overnight stay at the Inn or the Fireweed Hostel (optional).

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Day 3: Return to Calgary via Lake Louise and Banff, with stops at the Chateau Lake Louise and the Cave and Basin Hot Springs in Banff.

Option 2 is a three-day event to view coals and source rocks of the Western Canada Basin, the highlight of the tour is a BSGF-guided hike to the Mount Stephen fossil beds near Field, British Columbia, where Burgess Shale-like fauna and large trilobites are preserved.

Maximum number of participants: 12 (A limit of 12 is set by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation and therefore registration will be on a first come- first served basis).

Day 1: This trip will depart from the Hyatt Hotel, Calgary and travel west along the Trans-Canada Highway into the Foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains stopping to view the type section of the Mississippian Exshaw Fm. at Jura Creek, a rich and mature source of Mississippian oils in the western Canada Basin; and semi-anthracites of Jura-Cretaceous age and the coal mining museum in Canmore. Continuing west through the Kicking Horse Pass into British Columbia the tour will offer spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies and the famous Canadian Pacific Railway and the spiral tunnels in Yoho National Park. The day will end with a gourmet dinner in the Truffle Pigs Restaurant of the Kicking Horse Inn in the small town of Field where the group will stay overnight.

Day 2: This involves a day-hike to the Fossil Beds on Mount Stephen led by experienced guides provided by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation. This is a 7-hour round trip hike.

The group will return to the Kicking Horse Inn for dinner and an overnight stay at the Inn or the Hostel.

Day 3: Return to Calgary via Lake Louise and Banff, with stops at the Chateau Lake Louise and the Cave and Basin Hot Springs in Banff.

Maximum number of participants: 12 (This limit is set by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation and therefore registration will be on a first come- first served basis).

Accommodations in the area are limited and may involve sharing rooms. We have secured 11 rooms in the Kicking Horse Inn www.trufflepigs.com/lodge/ and all rooms at the Fireweed Hostel http://www.fireweedhostel.com/contact.html in the town of Field, British Columbia.

Registration fees vary depending upon which hike option/accommodation type you select.

            Burgess Shale/ Kicking Horse Inn                        CAD  $900.00

   Burgess Shale /hostel                                                CAD $665.00

            Mt Stephen Fossil beds/Kicking Horse Inn       CAD  $870.00

            Mt Stephen Fossil beds/hostel                              CAD  $635.00

Both options 1 and 2 offer spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains in the interior of British Columbia and experienced guides provided by the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation. While this is a unique opportunity to visit these restricted geological sites, the organizing committee must emphasize that these are full day-hikes to high elevations; the Burgess Shale hike is an 11-hour round trip on steep terrain and the Mount Stephen fossil beds is a 7-hour round trip hike; please be advised that you should only register if you are physically fit and adequately equipped for the trip. Please consult the BSGF website https://www.burgess-shale.bc.ca/ for recommendations on what to expect and how to equip yourself.


Here are some questions and answers drawn from the Burgess Shale website that might help you to decide if Options 1 or 2 are right for you:

Q: Can I collect fossils from either of the sites?

A: No, collecting of fossils is not permitted and no disturbance or damage to any natural object is allowed. The hikes are not research expeditions and consequently no one may break rocks at any time or location on the guided hike.  These fossil sites are located in restricted areas within The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site and are protected by the National Parks Act.

Q: Am I permitted to enter the sites on my own without paying for a guided service?

A: Entry is permitted only to groups led by guides who are licensed to enter these protected sites.  The fossil sites are monitored by motion detectors and cameras. Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation guides carry radios and they will immediately contact the Park Warden Dispatch to report any suspicious activities.

Q: What is the difference between the Walcott tour and the Stephen tour?

A: There are three sections to this answer.  1) The difference in  fossils.  2) The difference in scenery.  3) The difference in walking.

1) The difference in fossils.

Both the Mt. Stephen Trilobite Beds and the Walcott Quarry occur within the unit of rock called The Burgess Shale.  However, not all sites in the Burgess Shale rock unit are the same.

The Walcott Quarry has exquisite soft body preservation.  The soft tissues of the organisms have been replaced by minerals so that Paleontologists and Biologists can see the structure of the soft body tissues.  Soft body preservation is extremely rare in the fossil record

The Stephen site has soft body preservation but only the hardest soft body parts were preserved.  The species diversity is less at Stephen but the abundance of fossils is much greater at Stephen then at Walcott.  Almost every second rock has a fossil on it.  The fossils at Stephen are also bigger, with many in the 10 cm to 18 cm range.

The way I like to recommend where people ought to go is “If you’ve seen lot’s of fossils in your life but you’ve never seen soft body preservation then you should go to Walcott.  If you’ve seen very few fossils in your life and/or you are travelling with kids, then you should go to Stephen”.

2) The difference in scenery

Walcott has better scenery but they are both spectacular with views of high mountains, glaciers, rivers, and valleys.  Walcott is better because you see the view of Takkakaw (the second highest waterfall in Canada) and the view of Emerald Lake from above.  According to many guides in the area, Walcott is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Rockies.

3) The difference in terms of walking

Walcott: 22km (round trip) and 800m elevation gain.  Takes about 11 hours total from the meeting time until the end.  The trail mostly climbs at a very gradual elevation gain but there are two steep and long hills at the beginning and end of the trail.  If your weakness is steep hills then you may find Walcott easier than Stephen.  The trail is in excellent shape with mostly hard packed dirt underfoot and with very few obstacles to navigate around.  The last part of the trail is exposed and on loose talus (scree).  There is a section of trail that passes under a rock wall where rockfall may be encountered.

Stephen: 8km and 800m elevation gain.  Takes about 7 hours from the meeting time until the end.  This hike has ridiculously steep sections on it.  One section of trail is about 40 degrees with no flat spots to act as steps.  When it is raining or snowing the steep sections become very difficult to go up and down


 

Groups registered in Options 1 and 2 will return to Calgary late afternoon , approximately at 5:30pm on September 27th. The bus will go to the Calgary International airport so that those people with departing flights on the evening of 27th can be dropped off at the airport. For those not flying out in the evening and requiring overnight accommodation, we have reserved a room block with a special room rate at the Wyndham Garden Inn, 5 minutes from Calgary International Airport. To book accommodation for the night of Sept 27th, please contact the Wyndham Garden Inn directly at and indicate that you are with the TSOP September27th group to receive the special rate of Can $135.00 plus tax & fee.

Option 3.

If you would like to participate in a less strenuous, one-day tour through the Alpine terrain of BC/Alberta into the Foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, then this is the option for you.  The bus will depart from the Hyatt Hotel on the morning of Sept 25th and return to the Hyatt again in the evening. If you choose this option, the Hyatt Hotel will honour the conference room rates for the night of Sept 25th.  If you plan to stay an extra night (Sept 25th) at the Hyatt, please indicate so at the time of booking.

Maximum no of participants: 50

Registration Fee: CAD $120.00

This trip will depart from the Hyatt Hotel, Calgary and travel west along the Trans-Canada Highway into the Foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains stopping to view the type section of the Mississippian Exshaw Fm. at Jura Creek, a rich and mature source of Mississippian oils in the western Canada Basin; and semi-anthracites of Jura-Cretaceous age and the coal mining museum in Canmore. After lunch,  a tour of the beautiful alpine town of Banff Alberta will include a stop at the Cave and Basin Hotsprings before travelling on to Lake Louise where the tour will culminate at and return from the Chateau Lake Louise. Approximate arrival time in Calgary: 6.30pm.

It is the responsibility of the registrant to book an extra night’s accommodation if you planning to return to the Hyatt Hotel in Calgary on the night of Sept 25th.

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