Phase one of the Calgary to Canmore Trail unveiled
Plans are in the works for a 36 kilometre trail stretching west from Calgary to Cochrane. A large portion of the trail is already complete and needs an additional 16 kilometres to be built.
The next phase will see the trail extended to the mountain town of Canmore.
The project's web site shows the path will travel along Treaty Seven Territory connecting with the existing Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and the Rotary/Mattamy Greenway Trail in Calgary through the Town of Cochrane.
Organizers still require fundraising for parts of the pathway system that aren't complete along with the construction of a pedestrian bridge crossing the Bow River into Cochrane.
Alex Baum is the chair of the steering committee overseeing the project and says the biggest capital cost will be the bridge over the Bow River.
"It will be somewhere between that seven to nine million (dollar) mark and we're looking for a legacy sponsor of three million for that bridge," said Baum. "Then we can leverage those dollars provincially and federally to get the bridge built which is a key part of the trail."
The oversight of this initiative is being coordinated by the Rotary Club of Cochrane and it's launched a trail naming campaign for Albertans. The club is looking for submissions as well as an explanation of why that name would be appropriate.
This phase is part of the Trans Canada Trail that stretches over 27,000 kilometres coast to coast. It offers tourists and citizens the opportunity to experience the natural beauty the nation from a different perspective; by foot or bicycle rather than train, car or aircraft.
Laureen Harper is an advocate for the Trans Canada Trail and supporting this project because she says it's just too dangerous for people to be riding west to the mountain parks on the highway.
"That part along the river is so beautiful," said Harper."The park, the Glenbow Ranch, it's gorgeous, the Haskayne Park, it is absolutely world-class and people will come from miles around."
"Calgarians will get to enjoy it," she added, "and then when the trail gets to Cochrane, then our dream is to go from Cochrane to Canmore."
Organizers are rallying the local community to raise money and their vision is that future generations will use the trail to enjoy the province's hidden beauty at a slower pace.
"This project honours the natural beauty of our collective heritage," say organizers through the project web site. "And seeks to enhance the future of all Albertans by providing an exquisite way to enjoy the beauty of the rolling foothills and river valley."
The project has been made possible, in part, by generous land contributions from some of the founding pioneer families of Alberta including the Copithorne, Haskayne, Harvie and Robinson families.
Tim Harvie's family developed the Glenbow Provincial Park after donating land.
"A friend of mine said one time when we were creating the park you know there was obstacles to overcome but it was a pretty good quote, he said nobody wants to screw this up because it's too good," said Harvie. "The park has turned out wonderfully, Albertans love it, people that come out to visit they all go home happy and this trail system will be just another piece of that puzzle so it's great to see everybody on board."
The path will also travel along lands of the Treaty Seven Territory including eventually the Stoney Nakoda Nation.
The web site says "The hope and ambition of this project is to plan, develop and construct a lasting trail that will become a permanent legacy for the area, available for all as a passive, non-vehicular transportation option."
Learn more about it here: www.namethetrail.com