About the Central Alberta Regional
(Central Alberta Regional
is a not-for-profit society,
completely run by volunteers and representatives of member
municipalities, that exists to provide information and
support regarding recreational trail designation and development in
While not a trail development group, CARTS supports
local trail development groups by providing guidance and support
throughout their development process.
CARTS is committed to an inclusive public participation process
in determining trail designation and their development. This includes
seeking endorsement from local municipalities, agencies, trail
development groups and the general public.
However, CARTS is not a funding organization and does not
actively build trails.
The concept of
a regional trails network in Central Alberta can be traced back to
at least 1987 with the completion of Waskasoo Park in Red
Deer. Other communities also developed municipal recreational trail
systems soon afterwards, including Innisfail, Lacombe and Sylvan Lake
with several other communities at that time planning trails for the
future. There was also a rural trail built linking Bentley with Gull
Lake along Highway 12.
1998, a preliminary group of individual Central Albertans
representing various agencies including the City of Red Deer, Red
Deer County, Parkland Community Planning Services, Alberta TrailNet, Red Deer
Visitor and Convention Bureau, Normandeau Cultural and Natural History
Society, and Red Deer River Naturalists, came together to form the
Central Alberta Regional Trails Initiative.
This group proposed the creation of the Central Alberta Regional
Trails Master Plan project to identify the issues, concerns, support,
and ideas regarding the designation and development of recreational
trail linkages in rural Central Alberta.
Several communities throughout the counties of Red Deer and Lacombe
involved in the project decided to form a society in order to
attract the Trans Canada Trail to the central corridor.
In January 1999, the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society (CARTS)
was born to encourage the development of trails within urban
communities and create rural linkages between communities.
Although a series
of trails in Red Deer were registered as Trans Canada Trail a few
years earlier, the pavilion at Bower Ponds was officially dedicated
in 2005. Other communities having TCT designation include
Innisfail, Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka.