Trans Canada Trail in
Rails to Trails
History of CARTS
Friends of Trails
AGM June 2012
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 (TCT - 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. Several 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.
- 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. This was helpful
in the initial planning stages for the TCT in Central Alberta. The total
value of this grant was approximately $25,000. We also applied for grant
money to pay for engineering studies for two bridges along this section
of TCT -- one in Ponoka over the Battle River and one in Lacombe County
over the Blindman River. A grant was received in the amount of $68,000
for the engineering studies for both bridges.
- We involved all the communities in the planning process. The Town
of Ponoka and the County of Lacombe headed up the process of building
these two bridges. Since these bridges were part of the TCT, we applied
for and received grants totalling $400,000 ($200,000 for each bridge)
for their construction from both TCT and ATN. The bridges were
constructed in 2010.
2011 - Connecting Trails and Expanding our Vision
With the construction of the bridges, one the main goals for
CARTS was the construction of trails to connect to the bridges and
the communities beyond. In 2010 and 2011, the Town of Ponoka spearheaded
the construction of connecting trail between the Battle River Bridge and
the border of the County of Lacombe. CARTS facilitated and supported a
funding request for grants for this section of trail and grants in the
total amount of $150,000 were obtained from ATN and TCT. This trail was
completed to a rough gravel/dirt trail standard.
The County of Lacombe completed a connecting trail from Hwy 597
to the Blindman River Bridge including a recreational area beside the
bridge in 2010-2011. Much of this trail is to a paved standard.
Lacombe County is currently in the process of putting down trail
between Blackfalds and Lacombe. CARTS was instrumental in assisting the
county in receiving a $288,790 grant for this project. The trail is
planned to be to a paved standard with sections of boardwalk and will
pass by Lacombe Lake. It is expected that this section of trail will be
completed in the late summer or early fall of 2012.
Red Deer County Penhold to Springbrook Trail:
CARTS worked for several years with Red Deer County and the
communities of Penhold and Springbrook to facilitate the construction of
a trail through Red Deer County connecting Penhold and Springbrook.
CARTS was instrumental in facilitating and supporting a request for a
$50,000 grant to assist with the construction costs of this trail.
Unfortunately, the grant has not yet been received, because the trail
has not been completed. CARTS is currently working with all concerned
parties to work out a plan that will facilitate completion of this trail
in the near future.
Expanding Our Vision:
In recent years, CARTS has been making great strides to promote
and foster trail development in Central Alberta with the help of its
municipal members and volunteers. Since 2006, CARTS has facilitated and
supported grant applications to Central Alberta municipalities for trail
development totalling more than $920,000.
We still have much to do to connect communities in Central Alberta.
In recent months CARTS has been working on plans to facilitate future
trails connecting to Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, Bowden and Olds.
In 2011, meetings were held with the municipalities of Penhold,
Innisfail, Olds and Bowden. Penhold, Innisfail and Bowden decided to
participate in our organization.
In the future, we hope to facilitate feasibility studies looking at
trails connecting each of these communities and proceed from there in
building those trails to connect to the rest of the Central Alberta
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 and Alberta TrailNet in moving Central Alberta
trails forward. 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, City of
Lacombe, County of Lacombe, Towns of Penhold, Blackfalds, Ponoka, Sylvan Lake,
Innisfail, Bowden, and Hamlet of Springbrook.
- Debbie Olsen, President of CARTS
Report 2012 PDF