FireSmart Ecology Trail opens near Nordegg

The new 13-km FireSmart Ecology Trail near Nordegg opens for the first time this long weekend to hikers and mountain bikers.

The new 13-km FireSmart Ecology Trail near Nordegg opens for the first time this long weekend to hikers and mountain bikers.

The opening comes during Frontier Lodge’s mountain bike competition Fat Tire Festival, with guided trail rides of the FireSmart Trail available.

The trail runs through 10 km of previously clearcut forest between Goldeye Lake and Shunda Lake, 12 km west of Nordegg on Hwy 11. It will give people the opportunity to watch the forest re-grow.

The forest was harvested over the last two winters with trail development started earlier this year.

The FireSmart project is about reducing the threat of forest fires to nearby communities. The forest was so old that a fire would burn with such severe intensity that it would be difficult to control.

The clearcut will also renew the forest with aspens that will return nitrogen into the ground, and are also not very conducive to wildfire spread.

New grasses and plants will take hold, providing new habitat for local wildlife.

Barry Shellian, wildfire ranger and information officer for Alberta Environment Sustainable Resource Development, said it didn’t take long for plants to sprout.

“It went from a grey meadow and it’s green now,” Shellian said on Friday.

“It’s going to be exciting to watch.”

He plans to shoot seasonal videos on the trail to show how the forest springs back to life.

The primary start to the trail is at Fish Lake Provincial Recreation Area and it runs to Satellite Hill, adjacent to Goldeye Centre. It will also connect with existing trails and will be lined with interpretive signs.

FireSmart Ecology Trail was developed by the Alberta Environment Sustainable Resource Development staff in Rocky Mountain House, in partnership with Frontier Lodge, Tourism Parks and Recreation, Sundre Forest Products and Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Shellian said eliminating the heavy canopy of tree limbs means more snow will also hit the ground for winter recreation.

“We created a healthier forest. We created a safer community. We created bike trails. We have it all set up this winter for people to ski through the trails as well,” Shellian said.

The trail is open to all non-motorized forms of travel.

Brad Andrews, executive director at Frontier Lodge, said about 100 participants are competing at the 23rd annual Fat Tire Festival, along with many spectators. For a list of Fat Tire Festival events, competitions and guided trail rides, visit

Just Posted

Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more provincial funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by FCSS

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month