Rocky-Nordegg Trail proposal to be studied at public meeting

Clearwater County residents will have a chance to look at plans for the proposed Rocky Mountain House to Nordegg Trail during an upcoming meeting.

Clearwater County residents will have a chance to look at plans for the proposed Rocky Mountain House to Nordegg Trail during an upcoming meeting.

Mike Haugen, community and protective services manager for Clearwater County, said they’re hoping to introduce people to the draft plan during the meeting and then get their feedback on it. He said the public’s feedback will be incorporated into the final draft of the plan when it’s released in May.

The meeting is set for Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m. in the common area of West Central High School in Rocky Mountain House. Presentations will take place at 5 and 8 p.m.

They trail will have rest stops, picnic sites and a few remote campsites along the trail. People will be able to access the trail through a number of staging areas at: Prentice Creek Road, Chambers Creek, Jackfish Creek, Saunders, Harlech and Nordegg townsite.

The three-metre wide trail will be open for use by motorized vehicles, such as quads and motorbikes, as well as by pedestrians, mountain bikers and horseback riders. In the winter, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding will also be possible.

A number of names have been suggested for the proposed trail, including Martin Nordegg Trail, Coal Miners’ Trail, North Saskatchewan Valley Trail and the Clearwater Heritage Trail.

The draft report also sets out the steps for the proposed trail to be put in place. A management agreement, likely between Clearwater County and the province, will need to be worked out. Clearwater County still needs to determine the design for bridges and culverts, staging areas and road and highway crossings, as well as detailed cost estimates.

Government approvals are still needed for stream and highway crossings, development and construction and hunting regulations along the trail.

As well, secure funding needs to be put into place and organizers want to create an emergency response plan and a trail stewards program.

Haugen said in some ways being in the midst of a recession could help because the federal and provincial governments are looking for shovel-ready projects, but he said community donations to the project could be lower as a result of the recession.

Haugen said as part of the plan, they hope to have an educational component encouraging people to leave no trace when they are using the trail. He said there will be garbage cans at the staging areas, but none on the trail itself, so they will ask people to take out the garbage that they bring in.

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