The Sparwood Trails Alliance’s five-year plan for trails south of Sparwood. (Image courtesy of Sparwood Trails Alliance)

STA lines up completion of three trails in 2021, looks to five-year plan for more trails

The STA hopes to fundraise for, build and open a new trail every year for the next five years

  • Jun. 8, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The Sparwood Trails Alliance (STA) has some big plans for the next few years, with a five-year plan to build a new trail annually on lands the alliance has a land use agreement with Teck for.

The trails, which would be south of the existing lunch loop trails, would link together with existing trails to the south of Sparwood around the CBC Road and CBC Tower.

Negotiations are ongoing with Teck, and once discussions are further along the STA will look to fund the plans through community fundraising and grants.

Fundraising and efforts to complete the Lunch Loop Network to the immediate south of town were a complete success, according to the STA’s Christina Bilski.

“We were fortunate to have donations from businesses and community members,” she said, listing Crumbs Cakery and Café, The Lion’s Mane, Remax, Sparwood Visitor Information Centre and The Elk Valley Thrift Shop as supporters.

“We also had a $2,000 donation from our friends at Fernie Mountain Bike Club and several private donations from community members.”

Funds donated along with funds raised through merchandise sales were used to leverage grants such as one from the Columbia Basin Trust which will be used to ensure that the Lunch Money and Smoko trails (in the Lunch Loop Network) were completed this year. Funds are required as seed money for larger grants.

Previous partnerships with the Sparwood Future’s Society had already funded the completion of Sloppy Joe with another Columbia Basin Trust Grant.

“We are scheduled to complete three trails this summer: Sloppy Joe (1,420m of trail), Smoko (155m of trail) and the completion of Lunch Money (745m of trail). Additionally, with the funds raised we were able to add the final extension to Middletown, which will connect the Lunch Network and the northeast section of the Mountain Shadows Trail. Construction is currently underway and is estimated to be complete in a month. We ask that trail users abide by the closure signs when applicable, and avoid riding on the trail prior to construction being completed. We want to ensure the safety of both trail users and construction crew during the new build,” said Bilski.

The STA is hopeful that Fall events for the alliance can go ahead, especially given the phased re-opening of B.C. over the next few months.

“We are working on planning the Elk Valley FatAss, which is scheduled to take place September 11/12. We also look forward to planning our fall Holy Fit event, with dates to be determined. Likewise, we will be monitoring the reopening and are hopeful that we can have a grand opening for the completion of the Lunch Network.

“We also look forward to planning in-person fundraising events and trail maintenance nights again.”

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