Trans Canada Trail in
Rails to Trails
History of CARTS
Friends of Trails
AGM June 2009
The mandate of the
Central Alberta Regional Trails Society (CARTS) is to promote and foster
trail development in Central Alberta. For several years now, CARTS has
focussed its efforts on developing the Trans Canada Trail within Central
Alberta. Working with dedicated volunteers, municipalities, Alberta
TrailNet (ATN - the provincial trails organization) and Trans Canada
Trail Foundation (the national trails organization) we have been making
This report will provide an outline of progress to date and provide
information on the society's plans for the coming year.
- One of the first steps in the process of building TCT in Alberta
was to get Central Alberta on the TCT map. Several years ago, the
planned route for the TCT did not take in most of the communities in
this region. CARTS did not believe that it was a wise idea for Canada's
national trail system to bypass one of the busiest corridors in the
province. CARTS also believed that Central Albertans had a strong desire
to have and use trails and would welcome a trail that could link their
- Through CARTS, Central Alberta's municipalities have been working
together on trails. About three years ago, the map for the TCT was
changed in Alberta to include a trail linking communities from Penhold
to Wetaskiwin. Much of the trail registered as TCT was done so on road
rights-of-way with the intention of moving it to an off-road trail. To
this end, we have had meetings with members of Alberta Transportation,
MLAs, municipal councillors, and members of ATN and TCT. To date, most
of the trails between communities and within communities along this
corridor have been registered as TCT.
- Registering these trails was vital in order to obtain funding
available from the TCT Foundation and ATN. Each organization can
contribute up to twenty percent of the costs of building a trail or 40
percent in total.
- Once Central Alberta had a registered section of TCT, we asked
the TCT Foundation to fund a TCT coordinator position to assist our
small band of volunteers in moving along the process. For the past two
years, Derry Armstrong has been working with CARTS to help build the TCT
- Bridges: In order to link communities within Central Alberta,
several bridges will be necessary. The two key bridges are located
between Blackfalds and Red Deer over the Blindman River and in Ponoka
over the Battle River. CARTS helped municipalities in these regions
apply for and receive funding from the TCT Foundation for the
engineering of both of these bridges and have helped them apply for and
receive funding for a large part of the construction costs. We also
contacted the Canadian military engineers to seek their assistance.
- Building Canada Grant Fund: Lacombe County submitted an
application to support construction of the TCT from the Blindman River
to Morningside ($2.4 million). Unfortunately, the County has been
advised that trails are not eligible to be funded under this grant
program. Red Deer County also has an application in.
The coming year will be a busy one for CARTS. Here's what's on our
Blindman River Bridge: CARTS will continue to work with the
County of Lacombe, Town of Lacombe, Town of Blackfalds, and the County
of Red Deer on building this bridge and linking trails. It is slated for
construction for this winter, with the bridge decking going on in the
spring with the help of the Canadian Military.
Battle River Bridge: The bridge has been ordered and the design
work is being done. A trail development coordinator has been hired. The
Town of Ponoka is planning to build a significant amount of trail this
season both inside the town and to connect into Ponoka County. They are
applying for a federal grant to enable them to build trail all the way
to Lacombe County. Brad Watson said that the support of CARTS has been
appreciated and of significant benefit in contributing to the success of
the work accomplished to date.
Penhold-Springbrook Trail: Red Deer County is planning to build
this trail within the next year. CARTS hopes to assist them with funding
applications and by providing input on other trails they are looking at
Boots Across Canada: Keen Canada (www.keencanada.ca)
has a promotion whereby they will pay $5 for every pair of boots (or
shoes, or sandals) photographed on Canadian trails and uploaded to their
website. Maximum 10 pairs of boots per photo. We're asking Central
Albertans to take pictures and send them to CARTS at
email@example.com. We'll upload the photo and keep track
of how much money is raised here in Central Alberta. The program runs
until the end of October.
New Federal Trail Grant Program: A new federal program will
provide trails funding through the Canadian Trails Federation. We have
finally received information on the grant process and the deadline is
June 26. CARTS is working to help Lacombe County get an application in
to cover the remaining costs for the Blindman River Bridge. We're hoping
other Central Alberta communities will also apply for funding and we are
here to assist if they need it.
Promotion of Trails: Several Central Alberta communities are
planning events this summer and fall to promote trails. CARTS will
continue to encourage and promote such events and is planning a
community trails walk in the fall.
Olympic Torch Relay: CARTS contacted the individuals responsible
for establishing the route for the torch relay to see if we could have
the route align with TCT at least part of the way in Central Alberta.
We're waiting to see...
More Trails in the Future: CARTS has been working with several
Central Alberta municipalities on their plans to establish more trails
in this area. We hope to have some positive announcements in the near
Resolution: CARTS helped to coordinate Central Alberta
communities in bringing forth a resolution regarding trails to the AUMA
Convention which will take place in November 2009. The jointly-sponsored
resolution asks the provincial government and Alberta Transportation to
consider non-motorized modes of transport when they are building or
upgrading roads and highways.
CARTS Website: In the past couple of years, Paul Pettypiece, the
current Vice-President of CARTS has developed an excellent website to
help promote and inform Central Albertans about trails.
A Note of Thanks: CARTS appreciates the support of the Trans
Canada Trail Foundation in moving Central Alberta trails forward. Our
TCT Coordinator, Derry Armstrong, has been invaluable in this process.
We also appreciate the support of Alberta TrailNet. CARTS would not
exist without the support of dedicated Central Alberta volunteers and
the support of the municipalities in Central Alberta. Together we can
build something special.
CARTS Current Community Participants: City of Red Deer, Counties
of Red Deer, Lacombe and Ponoka, Towns of Penhold, Blackfalds, Lacombe,
Ponoka and Sylvan Lake, and Hamlet of Springbrook.
- Debbie Olsen, President of CARTS