Banff, AB - The Legacy Trail connection to Canmore is closer to completion, with three local governments and two provincial ministries joining forces to fund the $2 million project.
Alberta Transportation will contribute $1 million while the Ministry of Tourism, Parks and Recreation will contribute $310,000 toward the approximately 4 km segment of the trail that runs from the east gate of Banff National Park to the Travel Alberta Visitor Centre in Canmore. Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver and Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Dr. Richard Starke made the announcement in Canmore last week.
Banff Council approved a $266,000 commitment at their meeting Monday (May 13), while Canmore Town Council will consider their commitment at their next meeting. The Municipal District of Bighorn is contributing $25,000.
“There are more than 45,000 visits to the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail each year and the new paved trails will provide an unforgettable experience for everyone to enjoy,” said Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Dr. Richard Starke.
”The partnership approach on this project was the key to it moving forward. We support collaborative efforts that expand the experiences we offer to Albertans while growing our tourism industry.”
In 2011, the Ministry of Tourism, Parks and Recreation contributed $200,000 while members of the Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Partnership put forward $100,000 to build a gravel trail extension of the Legacy Trail from the east gate to the Harvey Height overpass as an interim solution while a permanent route was sought. Alberta Transportation provided the use of the highway right-of-way on the south side of the Trans Canada Highway, enabling a more direct and improved route to Canmore.
From the Visitor Information Centre, the trail connects to new trail along Bow Valley Trail built by the Town of Canmore. In Banff, the Town and Parks Canada are extending the Legacy Trail connection along Norquay Road from the CP rail tracks through The Fenlands picnic area on the north side, a $350,000 expenditure including a bridge across 40 Mile Creek, and the Town has budgeted a further $62,000 to improve the Legacy Trail on the east side.
“This new stretch of the scenic Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail will offer users safe, continuous access to cycle, hike or blade along the majestic Rockies,” added Transportation Minister Ric McIver. “Moving cyclists off Highway 1 improves the safety for everyone, including tourist and commercial vehicles. With our partner municipalities, we continue to build Alberta for our residents and visitors alike.”
“The Legacy Trail has proved to be a tremendous asset to the Bow Valley, and an economic and tourism benefit, as well as facilitating the use of alternative modes of transportation. A vital recreation connection between the east gate and the Town of Canmore has been missing,” said Canmore Mayor John Borrowman, speaking on behalf of the Bow Corridor Regional Mobility Partnership. “I am thrilled by the announcement that this gap will be closed.”
The partnership consists of Towns of Banff, Canmore, Municipal District of Big Horn, Alberta Transportation and Ministry of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development. Parks Canada is also on the committee. The Legacy Trail was built to honour Banff National Park’s 125th anniversary and officially opened in July 24, 2010. It runs 26 kilometres, with five crossing structures. Construction cost was $6.75 million.