Bragg Creek Trails to connect to national network
Recreation: Trans Canada Trail to pass through community
By: By Carmen Solana-Martin
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 05, 2014 06:00 am
Work to connect trails in the Bragg Creek area to the Trans Canada Trail can now begin thanks to financial support from the provincial government.
On Jan. 27, Banff-Cochrane MLA Ron Casey presented $125,000 from the Province’s Community Facility Enhancement Program to the Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA) to go ahead with plans to build a pathway that will connect with the Canada Trail.
The GBCTA is proposing to construct the 7.7 km pathway in three phases, beginning in the hamlet, and ending at the West Bragg Creek parking lot which connects to a trail system in Kananaskis.
The provincial support gives the organization enough to now begin work on the almost 2.5 km first phase which will start at Bracken Road, in the hamlet of Bragg Creek, and continue to Mountain View Park in West Bragg Creek.
“I feel really happy that we are able to advance this wonderful project and we hope to complete phase one by the end of the summer,” said Robert Sadee, association president.
The $125,000 provincial grant follows a $125,000 grant received from the Trans Canada Trail organization, a $60,000 recreational grant from Rocky View County, and $10,000 from the GBCTA’s fundraising efforts. The funds will cover the $320,000 cost of the project’s first phase.
The Trans Canada Trail, a project initiated in 1992 to celebrate Canada’s 125th year, is one of the world’s longest networks of multi-use recreational trails. Once the trail is fully connected, it will stretch nearly 24,000 kilometres from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans, through every province and territory, linking nearly 1,000 communities. The Trans Canada Trail Organization’s goal is to connect the trial as a continuous route from coast to coast by its 25th anniversary and Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.
A section of the trail already exists connecting Canmore, through Kananaskis Country to the West Bragg Creek parking lot at the end of West Bragg Creek road.
Sadee said the new trail will complete ain important link in the network.
“We want to help Trans Canada Trail meet its objective for 2017 to create the world’s largest trail network going from coast to coast,” said Sadee. “As Bragg Creek is known as the gateway to Kananaskis, from a trail perspective, this closes the gap between our hamlet and that beautiful trail network.”
“This trail will make it easier for our community members and visitors to carry out a healthy lifestyle and explore the Rockies.”
Sadee said the GBCTA has received tremendous financial support from trail users, local businesses, volunteers, as well as the Province and County.
In 2012, the GBCTA received $28,000 in donations for engineering studies from Alberta TrailNet, Trans Canada Trail, and Eagle Engineering.
“I would like to thank the tremendous volunteers of the GBCTA who have been working on this project for the last number of years,” said Sadee. “We are extremely thankful for the ongoing support and look forward to continued partnerships with the Province, Rocky View County, Trans Canada Trail, Alberta TrailNet and our community.”
Casey said the trail project is a great tourism initiative and completing these trail links is very important to the community.
“A community like Bragg Creek has so many trails and outdoor activities to offer,” he said. “Trails provide a really economical way for people to recreate and a great way for community members to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”
Casey said more work needs to be done to complete the project.
“Hopefully we’ll see, in the not too distant future, trails connecting Bragg Creek to Canmore and beyond,” he said. “The potential to link these mountain communities together is amazing.”
From the east there are two proposed routes of the Trans Canada Trail that will in the future connect Bragg Creek to Calgary, one via Cochrane, and the other via Highway 8, said Sadee.
“We need to build the link from West Bragg Creek to Calgary and this project is our little piece of building that gap,” said Sadee. “We know there will be a trail between Redwood Meadows, Cochrane, Calgary, and Bragg Creek.”
Rocky View County Div. 1 councillor Liz Breakey said she is in complete support of the trail network which will (one day) connect the community to the west side of Calgary.
“In terms of economic development it is a huge plus for this community,” said Breakey. “It will help our businesses and it puts us on the map.”