Twelve Alberta trails are getting upgrades.
The Great Trail, formerly the Trans Canada Trail, is a national network of trails that stretches for more than 24,000 kilometres, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Alberta has the second longest portion of The Great Trail, with 3,000 kilometres passing through the province.
To date, the Alberta government has invested nearly $10 million into it. The province recently announced they will be funding another $1.93 million towards the trails in Alberta.
"The trail network is just a great way for people to be active in any way that they want to be," said Ryan O'Byrne, communications advisor with the ministry of culture and tourism for Alberta. "We want Albertans to have every opportunity to be as active and as healthy as they can be."
O'Byrne added the trails are also an economic benefit for the province. They remain a large tourism attraction in Alberta, particularly in areas like Banff and Jasper.
The organization responsible for managing the funding and putting it into the trails is the Alberta TrailNet, a non-profit organization.
One of the 12 trails that is receiving funding is the Hope Adventure Camp Trail near Sturgeon River. Alberta TrailNet plans to upgrade the existing trail, which includes widening it and adding more signage. Out of the $1.93 million, the Hope Adventure Camp Trail will receive around $150,000.
The other projects receiving funding include:
- Peace River Wilderness Trail (near Smith) – improvements to trail surface and drainage and construction of a staging area at the southern end.
- DesNethe’ Discovery Trail (near Fitzgerald and the NWT border) – surface improvements, clearing and installing culverts.
- Will Marx Trail (north of Grouard) – bridge installation.
- Arctic Water route (between Athabasca and Fort Smith) – signage, including design, locations, materials and installation.
- Electric Dielectric Trail (between Canmore and Deadman’s Flats) – footbridge installation.
- Irricana to Beiseker Trail – new trail construction, including surfacing, fencing and signage.
- McKelvie Trail (near Ponoka) – trail development and suspension bridge installation.
- Opal Area Grazing Reserve Trail (Athabasca Landing Trail, northeast of Edmonton) – trail development to connect Athabasca Landing Trail to Half Moon Lake Trail.
- Meanook to Perryville (Athabasca Landing Trail) – development of small staging area and preservation of existing trail.
- Diamond Willow Trail (south of Ponoka) – bank stabilization and engineering work to preserve existing trail.
- Beiseker Station Grounds Trail (near Beiseker) – new trail construction, including fencing, signage and a staging area.
"These are priority areas to continue the good work that's been done so far to make sure that we're 100 per cent connected and complete across the entire province," explained O'Byrne.
The province does not yet have a time-frame for the projects.