A local trail development group has received $50,000 toward trail building.
Woods and Water Recreational Trails Association is building what it calls the North Shore Trail, between Marten Beach and the narrows north of Lesser Slave Lake. This is part of the Trans Canada Trail and follows an old roadway from the 1960s. The route includes part of the ox-cart trail, used during the Klondike gold rush period of the late 1800s.
The grant is part of the Crown Land Recreation Partnership Program (CLRPP) from the Government of Alberta.
“They’re trying to help groups out who are already out there working on the trails,” says Travis DeAlexandra, Woods and Water president.
Woods and Water is working on phase one of a three-phase trail. This phase is 18 or 19 km of trail, starting at Marten Beach.
DeAlexandra describes this as “cleared and open, but it’s still under construction.”
This trail is multi-use.
“If it can fit through the gate, they can use it,” says DeAlexandra.
This includes OHVs, horse, hiking, and bicycling. The bridges are the same width as the gate, so that is why vehicles must fit through the gate.
Phase one has four bridges and two large culverts. One culvert needs repairs, as the water is eroding the ground under the culvert. Some of the grant money will be used toward hiring a contractor to do this work.
The group’s goal in 2023 is to get the first eight kilometres smooth enough to be used by everyone. At the moment, it works okay for OHVs, but is hard to walk or cycle on.
Otherwise, “A couple of times a year, we do a trail clean-up,” says DeAlexandra, “to cut down fallen trees on the trails, as it is a never-ending job.”
This winter the group hopes to start on phase two, which is about 12 km from Big Stony Creek to about four km east of Kapawe’no First Nation’s narrows reserve.
Another project is working with the M.D. of Lesser Slave River to build a staging area. At the moment, there’s no proper parking area at the trail head at the Marten Beach entrance.
On August 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Woods and Water is holding its annual Trail Day barbecue at the trail-head. People can stop by anytime to learn more about the trail and for free food.
People wanting to join the group can contact Joe McWilliams at 780-849-4380.
by Pearl Lorentzen