Trans Canada Trail marker in Red Deer

Central Alberta Regional Trails Society

CPR Bridge TCT Red Deer

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Sylvan Lake


The Potential for Abandoned Rail Lines to Become Trails

There are two potential abandoned railway rights of way in Central Alberta that could one day become trails.
The first is the former Alberta Central Railway (CPR) alignment between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake. There are some serious challenges to be addressed, including the rehabilitation of the historic Mintlaw trestle and the crossing of the Highway 11 expressway.
Another is a proposed multi-use trail between Rocky Mountain House and Nordegg along the former Canadian National Railways right of way.
In Red Deer, the former Canadian Pacific Railway bridge has already been converted into part of the Waskasoo Park trail system.
Rails to trails projects have been very successful across North America including the Kettle Valley Railway trail in British Columbia and the Iron Horse Trail northeast of Edmonton.

Rail Trails and Safe Communities (pdf)
Rails to Trails Conservancy (U.S.)
Secrets of Successful Rail Trails (pdf)
Rails to Trails Conservancy (U.S.)

Proposal for Red Deer-Mintlaw-
Sylvan Lake ACR Linear Park

Forth Junction Heritage Society

Dodds Lake InnisfailMission Statement:
"To foster & provide opportunities for
designation and development of a trail network."

Rails to Trails
Iron Horse Trail

Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway
Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society

Friends of the Mintlaw Trestle Facebook Group

Regional Trails Network

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.

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, Lacombe and Ponoka.

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.
(see History)


Sylvan Lake trail on beach

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