Lacombe County embraces trail concept

Enough Lacombe County landowners have warmed to the idea of a trail on their land so that a route from the Blindman River to Blackfalds could be ready this summer.

Enough Lacombe County landowners have warmed to the idea of a trail on their land so that a route from the Blindman River to Blackfalds could be ready this summer.

“It’s been a bit of a challenge for us in negotiating,” said Phil Lodermeier, the county’s operations manager, on Thursday. However, two or three property owners on a route near the C&E Trail have come on board and a route is now almost secured.

“If we get one more, it looks like we’ll be able to do it.”

The county put $225,000 in its budget to build the trail and $50,000 for the bridge. Alberta Trail Net contributed $100,000 towards the bridge and the National Trails Coalition $50,000.

The project took a leap forward earlier this week when crews erected the framework for a pedestrian bridge across the Blindman River about two km south of the town.

Dozens of Canadian Armed Forces engineers are going into action March 12 and 19 to lay the planking for the bridge and bolt on handrails.

If all goes to plan the trail to Blackfalds should be ready for hikers and cyclists by July or August, said Lodermeier.

A similar bridge over the Battle River near Ponoka was put in place earlier this month and will be finished off in the spring.

The two bridges are part of a long-term plan to build a 71-km multi-use train between Ponoka and Penhold as part of the Trans Canada Trail Network.

The Ponoka project also received $100,000 from Alberta Trail Net and $85,000 from the coalition.

Lodermeier said the 12-km stretch of trail between Lacombe and Blackfalds could be complete in the next two to five years. That trail would also link up to trails within both communities.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com