The Elkford ATV Club working on the Big Weary Trail and the yearly bush clearing of tag alders and willows. Elkford ATV Club photo.
Nicholas L. M. Allen
Apr 5, 2023
The Elkford ATV Club is looking to promote “ethically responsible” tourism.
The Elkford ATV Club spoke with the Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council on March 28 about promoting “ethically responsible” tourism and developing an interconnected trail system linking municipalities.
Tom Kramer, vice president of the Elkford ATV club, said they started work on the trail system to link towns about a year and a half ago. It is called the Coleman to Canal Flats Intercommunity Ethically Responsible ORV (Off-road Recreational Vehicle) Tourism.
The proposal includes creating access from the trail system into municipalities with access through designated routes in each community.
“Access will be granted by the RCMP in British Columbia and those access permits allow ORVs such as side-by-side and ATVs to drive on roads and highways within the municipalities to access amenities such as fuel, car washes, repair shops, restaurants and more,” said Kramer.
He added that most of the infrastructure is already in place. The trails they use are mostly service roads within British Columbia and there is a route between the Crowsnest Pass over the Great Divide.
“All the trails that we are proposing on multi-use inclusive, all types of recreations, we want to be inclusive, not exclusive. So equestrian, ORV, cycling and hiking,” said Kramer.
They also want to make sure they recognize the fact the group works and plays on traditional Ktunaxa traditional land, with them looking into recognizing that through building kiosks on all the trail systems. They would show the trails with traditional names and show landmarks in traditional languages
“The kiosk we’ve designed for designated trails showing the routes would expose the visitors to traditional Ktunaxa history, culture, language and conservation values, creating awareness and understanding,” said Kramer.
He admitted that funding is limited as they are a small club with a little over 80 members. To help, they are working on an application for a federal grant of $200,000 to provide a route that would extend all the way to Pincher Creek from Canal Flats if the funds went through. They are also seeking help from the Columbia Basin Trust fund to bring this “beneficial’ trail system to the area.
“The benefits we want to look at are the socio-economic benefits like what they have with snowmobiling in the winter. We want to have that in the summer,” explained Kramer.
They also want to make sure senior citizens and those with mobility issues can use the trails while also promoting attractions in the area. Kramer highlighted Frank Slide as a potential destination for trail users. The district of Elkford has voted in favor of this particular project and they are currently working on the designated routes.
“The village of Canal Flats is also doing the same and I’m working with their CAO to come up with their designated routes,” said Kramer,”I’ve recently also received a letter of support from (MLA) Roger Reid.”
Kramer said the next steps are seeking continued indigenous and municipal support. They are also speaking with the tourism branch of the Government of British Columbia. He asked for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass for “support in principle” on the project.
“I think it would be good for these communities, these small communities here in Alberta, to connect with us and I’m hoping that you will support our project,” said Kramer.
More information on the club is available at elkfordtrails.com/atv-club.