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Hopes for New Trail from Cochrane to Canmore

Looking west from Cochrane Photo wikicommons

There are hopes that a new trail from Cochrane to Canmore will soon be completed, which will add a portion to the Trans Canada Trails’ (TCT) Great Trail, a network of recreational trails throughout Canada that link the country together.

Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is a non-profit organization that supports the development of The Great Trail and as a community-based project, TCT does not own or operate any section of the trail.

According to Alex Baum, a project lead and local advocate for the path, Alberta’s TCT pathway is only 60 per cent complete.

“Some of the provinces and territories are already 100 per cent done.

“My wife and I just enjoy what this part of the country lends itself to. We can hardly wait till the weekend gets here to be out doing some adventurous things outdoors. We’re not alone cause we’re all here for variations of that,” Baum said.

“As we kind of looked at what’s all happening around us, you know the legacy trail from Canmore to Banff and the blossoming of that trail and what it’s meant to those two communities. We watched even our trails in Cochrane here and what it’s doing to our community.”

There are several things that need to come together for the trail to become a reality, “including negotiating with the leaders of the Stoney Nakoda Nation, as the trail would have to cut through their land to connect with Canmore,” as stated in the Cochrane Eagle.

“The Stoney Nakoda, our neighbours, they’re doing their best to dream the dream with us,” Baum said.

“The province is discussing the Highway 22 1A intersection and among those discussions is the 1A expansion which is drastically over due. So all of those provincial discussions would assist in many ways the possibility of the great trails coming through our communities,” Baum said.

A statement from the three Stoney Nakoda Chiefs said the nation is involved in the visionary planning.

“As with all development in the Bow Corridor, the Nation would be pleased to participate in this visioning and will assess whether such a trail through our territory would be an enhancement to our community,” the statement read.

“As Nakoda people we are a welcoming Nation and already have highways and railways travelling through our lands. At the present time, the highway between Canmore and Cochrane is unsafe and we are looking to the federal and provincial governments to make the highways safe. If the highway is made safe for travel, adding a trail to this highway route might be an economic benefit to our community. We will continue to monitor this visioning process to see if that is the case.”

Trisha Kaplan, Trail Development Manager for Western and Northern Canada, said each trail is developed by locals with the help of the TCT group.

“This may be a local group, municipality, provincial government, or Indigenous community. TCT works with these partners, providing funding and other support for the development of the trail. Highway upgrades also present an opportunity for trail development and improvements,” Kaplan said, adding there are a number of trails that run through First Nation territory.

“When a trail is developed by a local group, including Indigenous communities, other authorities and stakeholders are consulted on the project. TCT also looks to see if there is local support for the project before registering a new section of the Trail with our network. All Trail sections must be built by, or in cooperation with, the local authority.”