Trans Canada Trail in
Rails to Trails
History of CARTS
Friends of Trails
AGM June 2010
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. 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. 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 three
years, Derry Armstrong has been working with CARTS to help build the TCT
in Alberta. A few months ago, we received word that the funding for this
position had been discontinued, but there is no doubt that Derry has
helped in the efforts to promote and build trails in Central Alberta.
2010 - A year for Building Bridges
The Bridges: In order to link communities within Central Alberta,
several bridges were 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 in
building the bridges. This past year, both bridges were completed on
time and on budget.
Trails: A great deal was accomplished in terms of trail-building
in Central Alberta this past year. Each community involved in CARTS had
significant trail development. In addition, work has been done in terms
of linking trails between communities. Red Deer County has begun the
work of linking Springbrook and Penhold and anticipate that trail to be
completed by the end of this year. Lacombe County has been working on
plans to link the bridge they just constructed with a walking/biking
trail that connects to the Town of Blackfalds. The Town of Ponoka just
constructed a bridge over the Battle River and has built a significant
amount of trail connecting it to the border of the County of Lacombe and
JJ Collette Natural Area.
Funding: CARTS is organizing a specific fund for Central Alberta
Trans Canada Trail (TCT) through the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. This
should be in place very soon. This will ensure that funds raised in
Central Alberta stay in Central Alberta.
The last round of TCT Funding will be given out this year and CARTS
hopes to help the communities in Central Alberta who are still working
on TCT trail construction to obtain funding.
There are several proposed trails in Central Alberta that are not
designated as TCT. CARTS may be able to assist with setting up a special
fund through Alberta TrailNet so that donors can receive tax receipts
and that money can stay in Central Alberta. We have already talked to
ATN and will proceed with that as the need arises.
Resolution: CARTS helped to coordinate Central Alberta
communities in bringing forth a resolution regarding trails to the AUMA
(Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) Convention which took place
in November 2009. The jointly-sponsored resolution asked the provincial
government and Alberta Transportation to consider non-motorized modes of
transport when they are building or upgrading roads and highways. It was
passed almost unanimously at the AUMA Convention.
The coming year will be a busy one for CARTS. Here's what's on our
Blindman River Bridge: The County of Lacombe and CARTS are
hosting a grand opening event for the Blindman River Bridge on June 5,
2010 at 1 pm.
Battle River Bridge: The Town of Ponoka will be scheduling a
grand opening ceremony for the Battle River Bridge in the coming months.
More Trail Construction and Planning: CARTS continues to support
trail development in Central Alberta and is currently working to assist
Lacombe County in planning trails to link the new Blindman River Bridge
with Lacombe and Blackfalds. Red Deer County is planning to complete the
linkage between Springbrook and Penhold this year and have several other
key trails identified in their future plans. Ponoka is planning to get
more trail on the ground linking the town with JJ Collette Natural Area
and the borders of Lacombe County.
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.
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, 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