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Media News re trails 1998
Aug. 6, 1998, Red Deer Advocate, by Andrea Maynard
Regional trail system proposed
Recreational trails may someday link Red Deer, Innisfail, Lacombe
and Sylvan Lake.
Red Deer groups have banded together to plan trails through the
Called the District Regional Trail Steering Committee, the group is
hiring a co-ordinator to help develop a strategy and figure out where to
"There will be an extensive public consultation process," said Greg
Scott, City of Red Deer community development and planning co-ordinator.
Some landowners worry that trails will increase problems like
vandalism and noise.
Scott said meetings with residents will be held, and commitments
from local governments and organizations will be sought.
The committee will work with the Alberta TrailNet Society, which
has already talked to some landowners. Alberta TrailNet was looking at
turning an old CP Rail line from Red Deer to Sylvan Lake into a trail.
The new committee will work with Alberta TrailNet, a provincial
body, and its Canadian counterpart, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation,
which is raising money for a trail across the nation.
The committee will include representatives from the city and a
least six groups including the Red Deer River Naturalists, Citizens
Action Group on the Environment and the Red Deer Visitor and Convention
A $42,000 lotteries grant will pay for a co-ordinator who will have
a one-year contract.
"It is the steering committee's hope that through the establishment
of a Central Alberta trail network, a more active and healthy lifestyle
will be encouraged," said a news release from the city.
Jan. 13, 1998, Central Alberta Adviser, by Steve Srubowich
TrailNet not on track yet
Despite the support of two Central Alberta MLAs and the city of Red
Deer, a recreational trail through some Central Alberta areas won't be
any easy sale, one local director says.
"There are still major obstacles," said Bob Johnstone, a Red Deer
director of the Alberta TrailNet organization.
He said some landowners adjacent to proposed trails are worried
about their privacy and littering along the routes.
"Some residents by the railway right-of-way like those near Sylvan
Lake are skeptical."
Some residents by the C & E Trail even started a petition against a
trail going in near them.
Johnstone maintains that a trail which is well managed will show
respect for adjacent landowners and clean up for Mother Nature's sake.
Alberta TrailNet released its 40-page discussion paper of the
proposed recreational trail system and is seeking public input.
The report considers recommendations of general trail paths;
summary of the social, economic and health benefits of trails; public
concerns like use, safety, cost and property values; the positives and
roadblocks to setting up a recreational trail in Alberta and how Alberta
policy and law affects it all.
Area residents interested in what the plan entails can attend an
open house on Jan. 20 at the Red Deer College board room beginning at
Johnstone hopes people will express themselves at the open house,
but also hear out those with different perspectives.
The trail is intended to provide a route for people to hike, cycle,
paddle, snowmobile or horseback ride through their areas.
Local people will become the managers or wardens of the trail
lines' upkeep. It will link up with other trail systems across the
In Central Alberta, the proposed trails head north from Drumheller
towards Stettler and Alix, moves west through Red Deer, Lacombe and
Sylvan Lake and runs parallel with Highway 11 to the mountain parks and
Highway 20 going towards Rimbey.
A recommended link to the existing Waskasoo Park trails and a link
to Sylvan Lake are areas certain to elicit responses.
"There is a lot of interest in this," Johnstone said.
People are asked to submit their comments and written views by Jan.
31 so it can become part of the process submitted to Alberta Community
The objective of the Alberta TrailNet is to have all communities
linked with each other and major recreation regions by Alberta's 100th
birthday in 2005.
It is also part of the TransCanada trail system.
So far, Red Deer North MLA and provincial Treasurer Stockwell Day
and Red Deer South MLA Victor Doerksen have both thrown their support
behind the proposal.
The public input process involves public meetings in six provincial
locations including Red Deer, Cochrane, Lac La Biche, Sherwood Park,
Peace River and Medicine Hat.
The consultations are being organized by Alberta TrailNet and the
Trans Canada Trail Foundation are being facilitated by Alberta Community
The opinions, written comments and recommendations being offered by
Albertans will be incorporated into a revised proposal and a final
document is expected to be submitted to the provincial government later
in 1998 to guide the planning of the trail system.
The draft proposal is the result of two years of research and
consultation by Alberta TrailNet.
Jan. 11, 1998, Red Deer Advocate, by Harley Richards
Trails proposed for abandoned
Group plans Alberta link to Canada Trail
Do you enjoy jogging along the river between Heritage Ranch and
Bower Ponds, or cross-county skiing around the River Bend Golf Course?
How would you like to ride a horse from Red Deer to Sylvan Lake, or
cycle across the country instead?
If Bob Johnstone and Jim Woychuk have their way, such long-distance
excursions may not be far away.
The two men, along with Grant Johnson, are Red Deer directors with
the Alberta TrailNet Society, an organization working to develop a
network of trails through the province linking communities, recreational
areas and other points of interest.
The society is also responsible for the creation of an Alberta link
in the TransCanada Trail, which will extend from coast to coast, with a
northern leg reaching up from Alberta to Tuktoyuktuk.
"They'd like to see it opened by Canada Day 2000," said Johnstone
of the proposed 15,000-km Trans Canada Trail.
The Alberta TrailNet Society is hoping to complete its own network
of trails by 2005, the province's centennial.
In the Red Deer area it is focusing on two prospective routes: one
following the old CP Rail line from a point south of Red Deer to Sylvan
Lake; and another along the C&E Trail from near Springbrook to the
Blindman River, incorporating the Red Deer trail system on the way.
Woychuk says trail use will be restricted to non-motorized forms of
transportation, with the possible exception of snowmobiles.
Bob Kochan, a local volunteer with the Alberta TrailNet Society,
adds the goal is to locate trails away from traffic routes like
Where possible, the Alberta TrailNet Society and the TransCanada
Trail Foundation plan to reclaim abandoned rail lines.
Johnstone explains these old lines are ideal for trail development
since they are already located on land right-of-ways and have a good
He adds the objective is to involve local groups and organizations
in the development and maintenance of the trails.
"It's a people-power thing," explains Kochan. "It relies on a
The cost of trail construction will vary significantly, depending
on a variety of factors.
In the case of the Trans Canada Trail, for which its foundation is
raising money, it is estimated roughly $36 will be needed for every
A trail system around a community like Red Deer would offer a
number of benefits, agree the local society members, most notably the
promotion of recreational and social opportunities.
"The great thing about trails are people of all ages can use them
at any time of the day," says Johnstone. "They can use them for five
miles or five hours; they can use them alone or they can use them with
Woychuk, who as Red Deer's parks facility foreman is responsible
for maintenance of the city's existing trail system, also believes rural
trails around Red Deer would be used by some as a means of commuting to
And Kochan says a trail system would help conserve green space and
promote a greater awareness and appreciation of nature and wildlife.
In this regard, says Johnstone, it may be possible to erect markers
along the trails, providing information about nature and identifying
historic points of interest.
But not everyone is climbing aboard the Alberta TrailNet bandwagon.
Johnstone acknowledges some landowners with property near proposed
trails are worried about a loss of privacy and the potential for
Past experience has shown such problems are rare along well-managed
trails. Johnstone estimates there are currently 20 to 30 local residents
involved in the Alberta TrailNet Society.
It's a groundswell of support he and Woychuk hope will continue to
grow. "The enthusiasm is certainly building and there's more interest
out there," says Woychuk.
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