Many years ago, there were plans to use old railway beds in our area to create a national trail system. A couple of communities are one step closer to seeing that reality.
Beiseker and Irricana are approximately 10 kilometres away from each other. At one time there were two rail lines between the communities. In the mid-1990s, the CPR pulled the line and donated the land to be used in the "Trans Canada Trail". Not much had happened with the trail since that time but that is about to change. The Meadowlark Trail from Beiseker to Irricana received a portion of 1.93 million that will be split between 12 projects with the Alberta TrailNet.
Jeanette Richter, Chairperson for the Meadowlark Trail was elated. "When we found out that we could get some money from the federal government, through the Trans Canada Trail, and also the provincial government was going to be giving us some funding, we went ahead with our dream and now it's going to be happening."
This trail will benefit the two linking communities as well as many others. "The reason we put this trail together is that the students from Irricana attend Beiseker Community School and they have to ride the buses to come here. With the trail, they'll (the students) will be able to ride their bikes quite a few months during the year," remarked Richter.
There is quite a bit of work to do to get the trail completed. When the CPR closed the line, they removed culverts and bridges. "With the culvert taken out just on the outskirts of Beiseker, that's going to be replaced by two four-foot culverts and then the bridges are going in over the Rosebud (River) and over the Crossfield Creek. That's the biggest portion of the funding (that will be used)," Richter explains.
It will benefit many people training for long-distance running, cross-country skiing, or someone just wanting to go for a picturesque walk. The tentative timeline to have the trail completed is in the fall of 2019.