Rig Street project expects to ‘hit the ground running’ next summer

A project is underway to develop a 120-km off-road designated trail system west of Sundre and Caroline.

A project is underway to develop a 120-km off-road designated trail system west of Sundre and Caroline.

Sundre resident Cal Rakach said on Wednesday that the Rig Street project received some matching grant funding this week from the federal government, and he expects “to hit the ground running” come next summer.

The trail system could be used by people who use off-road vehicles such as quads, plus fish and gamers, campers and so on, he said.

The idea is to use existing oil and gas or forestry routes in the forest, and have a trail system that steers people toward better areas and away from certain areas such as on top of pipelines and through creeks.

An area known as Rig Street runs from west of Bearberry northward to west of Caroline. There have been oil and gas and forestry roads there for many years, and it is popular for random camping, snowmobiling and quadding.

The Clearwater Trails Initiative came up with the Rig Street project, and once it is mapped out and developed, a body will be established to look after maintaining it, arm’s length from government.

Rakach, 56, is a member of the initiative, described as a group that includes community, industry and government working together to reduce conflict, educate people and share ideas.

“We have to do an initial inventory to find out what trails are there,” said Rakach.

Those current trails would be un-designated, random routes.

Rakach said a lot of the funding will be spent on preplanning the trail system, having a look at where work needs to be done, determining the number of kilometres involved, and then designing it.

There will need to be approvals from government.

They hope to begin work next summer. “Most of what we are going to be doing is rehabilitating existing trail … fixing holes and all that.”

Rakach said they have about half the funding they will need. This week’s approval of funding comes from the federally-funded National Trails Coalition. Other groups have also pitched in.

Once the trail is designated, it will need to be maintained.

There is a push being made to have off-road vehicle users pay an enhancement fee when they register their vehicles. This money could go toward the maintenance of the trail system.

Rakach said polling of users has seen high support “because everyone is saying there’s a need for more trails.”

“This is all cutting edge stuff. It’s about community taking control of our back country.”

Rakach is also vice-president of the Alberta Outdoors Coalition. The 13-member coalition focuses on public use of public land.

“We are all in this together as different users and we want responsible use so we promote responsible use.

“There’s lots of land out there and we need to share it.”

Rakach describes himself as a “gearhead” and a “chronic” outdoorsman.

“I also fish and hunt and go out with the kids and look at the trees.”

The initiative has also tried to get grant funding for a designated trail system for the Meadows project, an area between Ram Mountain and the North Saskatchewan River about 50 km from Rocky.

They did not get approval because there was not enough money and too many applications.

“We took a shot at it. It’s sitting there.”

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Unemployment rate and EI beneficiaries down in Central Alberta

The unemployment rate for Red Deer region and the number of people… Continue reading

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

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

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

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

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