Archive for May, 2009

Trail to link Canmore to Lake Louise

27 May

A long awaited multi-use trail linking Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise will be constructed this summer and ready for cyclists and hikers in 2010.

Environment minister Jim Prentice was in Banff Tuesday [May 19] to announce the Banff Legacy Trail, which is being constructed as an anniversary project celebrating 125 years of Banff National Park.

“It’s long overdue from my perspective,” Prentice said, a cyclists himself who knows the potential dangers of riding on roadways.

“You never feel entirely save when you’re on the highway.”

The 26 km trail comes with an estimated cost of $6.75 million. Bridge design and the trail’s layout will be finalized with the completion of an environmental assessment. Once complete, the trail will become part of the Trans Canada Trail network, which is already 70 per cent complete.

Prentice said this trail will not only provide an economic boost, creating jobs locally, but will “encourage more sustainable tourism in the national parks” and be a “significant tourist attraction for years to come.”

Banff’s deputy Mayor Stavros Karlos, who is also a member of the Lands Adjacent to Banff (LATB) committee, which has been working for years to see this project come to fruition, was elated with the news.

“I am more ecstatic than perhaps anyone in this room,” he said. “On behalf of the Town of Banff, we are happy to see such a massive investment occur in trails.”

The trail will run primarily along the Trans Canada Highway right-of-way and wildlife fence. It will be a hard surfaced trail suitable for cycling, walking and in-line skating.

Deborah Apps, president and CEO of the Trans Canada Trail, said this section will become another jewel in the trail network that spans the country.

“This 26 km trail will truly be a Canadian Icon,” she said.

The tourism benefits of the trail were also praised as a way of showing visitors a new way to enjoy the park on a safe trail designed to incorporate scenic views.

“This is really an investment that will help residents and visitors explore the majestic Canadian Rockies,” said Bob Scott, assistant deputy minister with Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “Trails are important for our tourists and Albertans.”

The trail already has Prentice planning another trip to back to the mountains in 2010 for a bike ride.

“I intend to be here for the first ride on the trail,” he said.

He said getting to this point was thanks to the hard work of community groups like the LATB, Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Partnership, towns of Banff, Canmore and the MD of Bighorn.

Source: Larissa Barlow/Canmore Leader

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