The view of Elkford from Mt. Wapiti. (Photo contributed by Katherine Russell)

Blazing trails: Elkford Trails Alliance gets going

The newly-minted ETA wants to link up and map trails for locals and visitors alike

There’s a new trails alliance on the scene in the Elk Valley, with the newly minted Elkford Trails Alliance getting down to business in earnest to make outdoor adventuring around the northern adventure town easier for locals and visitors alike.

Founded by Elkford local, Katherine Russell, the ETA is meant to help more people explore, discover and enjoy what the Elk Valley has to offer.

“It’s pretty rugged terrain around here – you’re not going to find a lot of parking lots with signage for a trailhead or a hike,” said Russell. “It tends to become a barrier for people who are new here.”

Russell said her personal experience of learning about what Elkford had to offer had motivated her to want an ETA.

“Certainly when I got to Elkford, I had a few people really take me under their wing and show me the awesome trails in Elkford, and I just think not everybody has that introduction to hiking around here – I was really lucky to connect to some people that have been hiking in the valley for 50 years and wanted to show me these trails.”

The newly-minted ETA has already hit the ground running, with the beginnings of a positive relationship with the District of Elkford and having already applied for grants to work on trail ideas.

“We have a lot of ideas,” said Russell, adding that for now they were sorting through priorities.

Hopes for the ETA are high, with many kilometres of trails already around Elkford.

“There’s a lot of small sections in different directions – what I’d like to see is how can we use what we have (and) how can we connect some so there are longer routes,” said Russell, adding that there were hopes to develop trails of varying difficulty.

The ETA’s already reached out to the Sparwood and Fernie trail alliances, with collaboration key to the ETA’s success.

“(The STA and FTA) have been as good as gold. We all win if we can help each other out. If we can all build more trails in our communities, we can all use those trails.,” she said.

“We don’t want to drive out of our valley (to explore) – there’s so much in our valley here.”

The ETA doesn’t have a website or Facebook page yet, but as it gets more organized Russell said it would gain a higher profile going forward.

READ MORE: Sparwood Trails Alliance fundraises for Lunch Loop
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