Sparwood’s trail network could one day rival Fernie’s as the local trails community gains momentum.
The Sparwood Trails Alliance (STA) currently maintains nearly 30km of trails and hopes to add another 8km over the next 18 months.
“Our running community and our whole trail use community has increased tenfold in the last couple of years,” said STA board director Calvin Domin.
“We’ve been working at getting land use agreements with Teck, the District of Sparwood and a few other landowners in the area.
“In the spring we’re going to be starting our first volunteer built add on section, which is over 800m and it will complete the total (Mount Shadows) loop.”
Domin said this project is self-funded and will move the section of the trail off the road.
The STA is also applying for grant funding with a view to hiring a contractor to build more loops in the summer.
“Ninety per cent of our trails are in the green range, for beginners and good fitness style trails,” said Domin.
“Our hope is in the near future to add some steeper, more technical terrain. Currently we’ve focused towards family and beginners, try to get everybody involved.”
The STA was established in 2016 and last year had 42 paid members as well as a board of directors and volunteers.
The nonprofit organization is contracted to the District to maintain the Trans Canada Trail, also known as the Great Trail, from Lower Elk Valley Rd to Hosmer.
Other trails groomed for winter are the Elk River Loop, Cypress Loop, Lions Park Loop and disc golf course loops.
“We’ve had a great winter so far,” said Domin. “We just ask people to watch out for grooming equipment. Whenever there’s grooming equipment operating we have signs that are set up.”
The STA is in the process of setting up online sign up to continue growing its membership.
It will host a fatbike race on February 2 to coincide with Sparwood’s annual winter celebration, Winterfest.
Domin believes there’s an opportunity to partner with the Fernie Trails Alliance and promote both areas as biking destinations.
“It would be a great extension to the Fernie area trails,” he said.
“Our base is smaller for sure but we definitely wouldn’t mind partnering with Fernie and letting people know that when they’re in the area doing tourism (activities), Sparwood is another area could check out some of our trails that connect directly with the great trail to Fernie. There’s great opportunities for sure.”
For more information, visit Facebook.com/sparwoodtrailsalliance.