Trans Canada Trail in
Rails to Trails
History of CARTS
Friends of Trails
AGM June 2016
Much of the focus of trail
development in Central Alberta over the past year has been on rural
linkages south of Red Deer and north of Lacombe as the TCT is
essentially complete between Red Deer and Lacombe, thanks to the efforts
of Lacombe County.
Congratulations to Phil Lodermeier and the staff and council of Lacombe
County for the recent awarding of the Trail Blazer Award by Alberta
TrailNet at their recent AGM.
Trans Canada Trail intends to declare that the trail is connected by the
end of 2017 as part of the legacy of Canada's 150th birthday. For
sections where trails have not been completed, roadways will be
designated at TCT until actual trails can be built.
This past year, our meetings have been hosted by the following
communities: the Town of Blackfalds for last year's AGM, the Town of
Innisfail, the Town of Penhold, the community of Springbrook (Red Deer
County), the Town of Sylvan Lake and the City of Red Deer for this
A revamping of the society website is a high priority for the coming
Red Deer was one of the first communities in Alberta to embrace the
Trans Canada Trail concept. It was also one of a handful of
communities that was awarded a TCT pavilion, installed in August 2005
near Bower Ponds. Waskasoo Park consists of about 110 km of trails and
has consistently been the pride and joy of the city's residents and
visitors. Further trails are being constructed or planned along the
future 20 Avenue. corridor, 22 Street (utility) corridor, north of
Highway 11A and the future Riverlands (downtown) area.
Trans Canada Trail North of Red Deer
Red Deer to Blindman River
The section of trail that runs on the C & E Trail roadway between
Highway 11A and Blindman River is partly in the city's jurisdiction and
partly in Red Deer County's. It is considered to be a temporary trail as
it is not up to a reasonable standard as yet until development occurs in
the area. The city passed the North of Highway 11A Area Structure Plan
in the spring of 2016 that includes a more permanent connecting trail.
However, depending on the pace of development, that could be a few years
down the road.
Blindman River to Lacombe
The Blindman River Bridge and the 2-km paved link to the edge of
Blackfalds was completed in June 2010 by Lacombe County. Subsequently,
the Town of Blackfalds completed much of its internal trail system that
included a traffic control at Highway 597 and the only indoor portion of
Trans Canada Trail through the new Abbey Centre opened in September
In the meantime, Lacombe County constructed the 8-km paved
Blackfalds to Lacombe trail which opened in June 2013. Although it took
a few years and there was considerable resistance to the trail, it has
been a resounding success with many of the objectors now praising the
trail. Blackfalds completed the connection north to that trail in the
fall 2015. This section of TCT is virtually complete.
Lacombe to Ponoka County
The City of Lacombe has been connecting more and more trail within
its boundaries and has chosen a 1.9-km route to connect with the new
15.5-km Lacombe to Ponoka County trail which is expected to be under
construction later this year by Lacombe County. This new rural trail
received funding from Trans Canada Trail Foundation, Alberta TrailNet
and the Alberta Community Partnership program.
Lacombe County to Ponoka
The Town of Ponoka has an ongoing program to build and upgrade its
trail system. The Battle River Bridge was completed in 2009 with funding
from Trans Canada Trail Foundation, the National Trails Coalition and
Alberta TrailNet. A gravel trail that included equestrian use was built
into Ponoka County in 2010. Discussions are under way to further the
work to connect with the upcoming Lacombe to Ponoka County Trail and to
maintain the existing trail.
Trans Canada Trail South of Red Deer
Red Deer to Springbrook
Red Deer County accepted on June 2, 2015 the Springbrook - Red Deer
Trail Concept Plan as information. On December 8, Red Deer County
Council approved a route partly based on cost and eligibility for Trans
Canada Trail funding. The route chosen of the four outlined in the plan
was virtually identical to the route registered with TCT several years
earlier in October 2006.
The 11-km route along Range Road 280 and Township Road 381 from the
north edge of Springbrook to the 32nd Street interchange with Highway 2
is estimated to cost around $3 million, of which Trans Canada Trail and
Alberta TrailNet will fund 50% to a maximum of $1.5 million. It was
decided that the County would apply for the grants before making any
Once the grants were approved, County Council, at its June 7
meeting, deferred a decision on whether to proceed until its July 5
meeting in order to obtain further information on trail standard options
and whether a proposed donation by a private individual for another
trail could be shifted to the trail approved. A requirement of the
grants is that the trail must be completed by September 30, 2017.
The connecting section from the edge of Springbrook through the
hamlet to the paved trail in the nature park area south of the hamlet is
projected to be done in 2018, pending approval of funding in the 2018
budget. Therefore, the portion of trail completed in September 2017
would not be directly connected at either end until a later time.
Springbrook to Penhold
This section of trail is currently on hold until an agreement can
be reached between Red Deer County and the Town of Penhold on timing and
routing. The County informally approved the 3.6-km trail in July
2007 and formally approved it in March 2009. A 1-km section of trail
south of Springbrook in the nature park was started in September 2009
and paved in October 2010. It was anticipated by the County at that time
that the connection to Penhold would be completed in 2011. However
progress was stalled when the Town of Penhold indicated it wasn't ready
to make the connection within the newly-annexed area until there was
development in that area. A connection plan was adopted by Penhold
Council in March 2012 pending funding being available.
The issue was somewhat complicated by the Highway 2A Twinning Study
that suggested a commuter trail on the east side of the highway between
Gasoline Alley and Penhold, a much more direct route and closer to
Penhold amenities. However that trail could be many years in the future
and would require a pedestrian crossing on Highway 2A at Springbrook.
Although the County has no immediate plan to expand the existing portion
of trail, it is hoped that a way can be found to connect the trail in
Penhold to Innisfail
After a number of meetings, a committee consisting of
representatives of Red Deer County, Town of Penhold, Town of Innisfail,
Town of Bowden, Alberta TrailNet, CARTS and the study consultant, Red
Deer County and the other municipalities accepted the Penhold to Bowden
Regional Trail Concept Plan during the summer and fall of 2013 as
information. Bowden decided to not participate further until the section
between Penhold and Innisfail is built. Three potential routes were
identified. Further work will need to be done including funding options
and a decision on routing before the trail will be constructed. The
County prefers that Innisfail take the lead on any further progress as
it did in the original study.
Future Trail Linkage Red Deer to Sylvan Lake
The idea of a regional trail linking Red Deer and Sylvan Lake on
the former Alberta Central Railway (operated by Canadian Pacific
Railway) has been discussed since its abandonment in 1983 (the last
train being in 1981). The focal point of the trail would be the
644-metre (2100-foot) Mintlaw Trestle (the 3rd longest railway bridge of
its type in Western Canada and the longest abandoned steel trestle)
built in 1912 over the Red Deer River about 6 km southwest of Red Deer.
In the mid-1990s, some current members of CARTS visited each landowner
along the route with varying degrees of acceptance. In 2009, Red Deer
County bought the bridge and right of way for $1. Since that time the
County has spent between $500,000 to $750,000 on maintenance and
In April 2012, Red Deer County accepted the Mintlaw Bridge Public
Access and Preservation Strategy as information. Council indicated that
it would be open to proposals for a regional trail using the bridge but
the County was not in a position to fund it. It was also noted that
there is considerable opposition from some adjoining landowners to the
trail that would need to be overcome. The study indicated that it would
cost about $3 million to rehabilitate the bridge to trail standard.
The Mintlaw trail linkage has been included in the County's
award-winning Open Spaces Master Plan, a result of the County's 2003
Community Needs Assessment that determined that trails, parks and open
spaces were the top desired recreational amenities for residents in the
county. The bridge and right of way have also been identified in the
inter-municipal Red Deer River Valley and Tributaries Park Concept Plan
It was also one of the four options included in the Springbrook -
Red Deer Trail Concept Plan completed in June 2015. That study indicated
that a trail from the Highway 2 bridge along the river and Sylvan Creek
to the west side of the Mintlaw Bridge to Springbrook would cost in the
neighbourhood of $8 million.
Alberta Transportation has also considered commuter trails along
Highways 11 and 11A.
The Town of Sylvan Lake has done considerable trail development
within the municipality in recent years including a major promenade
along the lake shore and a large portion of the Alberta Central Railway
abandoned right of way.
Paul Pettypiece, President 2015-16
June 16, 2016
Report 2016 PDF