Building trails to
reprinted from Red Deer
Advocate (Paige Aarhus) March 18, 2009
Red Deer County hopes several recreational pilot projects will help
them move forward with its Open Spaces Master Plan.
Trails connecting Springbrook to Penhold and Spruce View to
Dickson, and a Cottonwood day-use area near Dickson Dam, have been
touted as the first step towards turning Red Deer County into an
"As we go through the implementation of those projects, we will
learn the process and carry that knowledge forward," said Alex Taylor, a
planner from Dillon Consulting.
Taylor described an intricate network of trails and outdoor
recreational areas that could come to fruition under the plan at a
Tuesday council meeting.
At the same time, they warned council that it's necessary to take
action and gain public support in order to implement the plan.
"It's great to have a plan but we don't want it to end up as a
report on a shelf," he said.
The goal is to create a variety of open spaces throughout the
county to take advantage of the scenery and existing landmarks of
different areas, which would be connected by trails wherever possible.
Taylor identified seven distinct zones within the county that could
benefit from developing trail systems and recreational areas, including
Alberta Central Railway, Medicine River, Ghost Pine and Boomtown.
"Most of the landscape in the county is very beautiful. We want to
work with existing features such as the trestle bridge," said Bev Sandalack, an environmental design professor who helped work on the
Several councillors expressed their enthusiasm for the plan and
lamented the lack of trails in rural Alberta.
"What seems like an anomaly to me is the lack of trails in a rural
environment, compared to Europe and other areas," said Councillor Reimar
Poth said the county is leading the province in terms of promoting
a trail network, but acknowledged the difficulty lies in getting the
public on board.
Mayor Earl Kinsella agreed.
"This is a very long-term project. Only with public support and
funding will it ever get done," he said.
Deputy mayor George Gehrke praised the plan and its goals, but
argued landowners should approve of any changes to their property.
"People who live on the land don't need a trail, they've got a
trail going out their front door . . . People in the neighbourhood are
not in favour of 'urbans' stomping through their yard, and they don't
want to pay for it," he said.
Planners began consultations for the plan in 2005. Another series
of consultations and work on precise implementation strategies will be
completed before it returns to council for approval.
Red Deer County Open Spaces Master Plan
News articles related to regional trail development including
Commentary: Preservation Opportunity Not to be
Lost (Innisfail Province & Red
Deer Advocate June 2015)
News article: Red Deer County seeks partners
to afford bridge access
(Mountain View Gazette Apr.2012)
News article: County council looks at bridge
as tourist attraction
(Red Deer Advocate April 2012)
News article: Plans for Mintlaw Bridge waiting
on public feedback
(Mountain View Gazette Feb.2012)
News article: City council adopts river valley
(Red Deer Express July 2010)
News article: Clearwater County calls on
province for advice about trail
(Red Deer Advocate April 2008)
Editorial: On the trail of a worthy plan
(Red Deer Advocate Sept.2005)
ACR/CPR Mintlaw Steel Trestle