Central Albertans will soon have the opportunity to celebrate – with 200 other communities across Canada – the creation of the Trans Canada Trail system, which stretches 22,000 kms across the country.
According to a release from the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society (CARTS), the idea for the Great Trail was original conceived by Albertan Bill Pratt and Ontarian Pierre Camu in 1992 and was realized by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) not-for-profit society.
CARTS will host a celebration on Aug. 26th at 2 p.m. at Bower Ponds in Red Deer to signify the achievement of the trail, which exists in every province and territory throughout Canada.
“The one in Red Deer is at the Trans Canada Trail Pavilion at Bower Ponds,” said Paul Pettypiece, president of the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society.
“There will be a short program, with a presentation of Trail Hero Awards. Their will also be a brief history of trails in Central Alberta and there will be live music, cake, ice cream, other refreshments and generally a good time.”
According to the CARTS release, the Great Trail offers outdoor experiences on both land and water routes.
Eventually, the trail will extend to more and more communities.
“It is because with this being Canada’s 150th year, the Trans Canada Trail Foundation wanted to make sure that the trail was connected coast to coast to coast,” Pettypiece explained.
“That doesn’t mean it is completed — in fact there are several sections in Central Alberta that are not completed yet. But, in the mean time the connections are by road.
“Eventually there will be trails that are off-road connecting at the least the communities of Ponoka, Blackfalds, Red Deer, Springbrook, Penhold, Innisfail, Bowden and Olds.”
Pettypiece noted trails allow for communities to connect to each other in a much different way then automobile travel.
“It provides a safe way for people to travel from community to community without necessarily taking a car,” he said.
“This is a means of active communication, healthy living, recreation, getting a sense of the environment — both urban and rural and it is family-friendly.”
Much like its cousin, the Trans Canada Highway — the Great Trail is also a way for Canadians to connect with one another both within and exterior to their home municipalities.
“The idea of the Great Trail is that it not only connects people within urban centres, but also connects people between urban centres,” Pettypiece said.
CARTS continues to help advocate for the creation of more trails within Central Alberta.
“Once the Trans Canada Trail is completed in Central Alberta, CARTS will continue to promote trail development,” Pettypiece said.
“One of the big hoped for trails is a connection between Red Deer and Sylvan Lake. There are other potential trail systems in Central Alberta as well.”
He added, “We hope to see lots of people on the 26th. Both Lacombe and Blackfalds are also having celebrations as well.”
Central Albertans can use the hashtag #thegreattrail to follow up on the celebrations.