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Sparwood expands local trail network

The Lunch Loop system seeks to promote greater trail accessibility in Sparwood
A map of the Lunch Loop trail, completed in 2020. (Photo Submitted)

Following months of trail building and a number of community grants, the Sparwood Trails Alliance (STA) has officially launched their newest trail.

Constructed by Backcountry Trail Experts and volunteers at the STA, the Lunch Loop network is a six kilometre long trail system the STA seeks to build over multiple years.

Using $50,000 of funding from Teck Coal and the Columbia Basin Trust, the STA was able to build over three and a half kilometres in 2020, with the first section of the trail having been built in June, and the remaining portion finished in August.

The multi-use, multi-directional trail is rated at a beginner to intermediate level, with all gradients at a less than 10 per cent average.

“The vision for the STA for all of our builds in the next few years is to build a network close to Sparwood so it’s accessible to everyone regardless of their skill level,” said Lunch Loop project lead, Dan Charest.

According to Charest, since the trail opened for use earlier this summer, the STA has seen just short of 700 people hike, bike, and run the Lunch Loop. The number of trail users has continued to increase with the posting of the Lunch Loop to Trailforks two weeks ago.

To encourage year-round trail use, the alliance will likely groom a section of the Lunch Loop in the winter for fat biking.

“We want to promote greater usage from the community and beyond. Since we started the non-profit four years ago, we have seen a really large increase in trail activity in Sparwood.”

Having recently received construction authorization and finalized land use agreements with the Sparwood Golf Course Society and Teck Coal, the STA is currently pursuing additional grant funding in hopes of constructing the remaining section of the Lunch Loop network in 2021.

Given pandemic regulations, the STA seeks to host a public grand opening ceremony upon completion of the entire Lunch Loop trail system next year.

From Sept. 21 until Sept. 27, the Sparwood Trails Alliance is also hosting a virtual event entitled Holy Fit. Additional details about the event along with other updates can be found on the Sparwood Trails Alliance Facebook page.

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Aerial shots of Sparwood’s newest trail, the Lunch Loop. (Photo Submitted)