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Clearwater County calls on province
for advice about trail

 
reprinted from Red Deer Advocate (Paul Cowley) April 24, 2008

Clearwater County wants the province's help in sorting out access issues along a proposed scenic trail along an abandoned rail line west of Rocky Mountain House.

A letter has been sent to Alberta Sustainable Resources Development Minister Ted Morton asking that the province get involved in smoothing the way for the trail by working out agreements with companies owning timber rights along the anticipated 120-km trail route from Nordegg to Rocky Mountain House.

"The trail will need the co-operation of Sustainable Resource Development and the timber companies in order to facilitate access to the trail," said Clearwater County Reeve Dwight Oliver.

There are about a dozen stream crossings along the proposed route and there are a number of spots where trail users need to go off the former rail right-of-way to continue their journey. Before any further work can be done to push the trail project ahead, access issues need to be sorted out or major changes in the concept must be made, said Oliver.

"At this point now, we've decided the first phase of this needs to be Sustainable Resource Development support for the concept and helping work out those types of details."

Clearwater County has already committed $250,000 towards the cost of developing the trail, estimated at $1 million to $2 million. There is the possibility of tapping into more money using the province's Municipal Sustainability Initiative.

The idea of turning the abandoned rail line into a tourist draw has been kicking around since the 1970s, when the province protected the land to ensure it remained intact.

About five years ago, the county did some basic surveying work to gauge the condition of the route and to determine how much work will be involved in making it safe for hikers, mountain bikers and other users.

Among the major jobs is replacing deck planking on three trestles as well as overhauling sections of the old line where railway ties are still in place.

In recent months, the enthusiasm for tackling the project appears to be picking up steam.

Interest has been growing among outdoors groups and local businesses and individuals have already volunteered to donate time and resources.

Oliver said there has been "amazing support" from the community. "We're pretty confident this is going to be a long-term success."

The tourism potential is considerable. B.C.'s Kettle Valley Railroad, an abandoned rail bed that winds through south central B.C. between Midway and Hope is a major draw for the area.

If the Rocky to Nordegg trail project goes ahead, it is expected it would be built in sections over several years, likely starting in Nordegg and working east. The abandoned rail line ends about 20 km west of Rocky and a finishing leg would need to be mapped out.
 


News articles related to regional trail development including rail-trails:
      
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 plan
(Red Deer Express July 2010)
       News article: Building trails to paradise (Red Deer Advocate March 2009)
       Editorial: On the trail of a worthy plan (Red Deer Advocate Sept.2005)

Canadian Northern Western Railway Brazeau sub (CNR) - Mirror to Red Deer and Nordegg

 

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