Thorsby is located in Central Alberta and is fortunate to have an amazing trail system that continues to be upgraded and enhanced with the help of local volunteers and financial contributions from a variety of sources.

The Plan

The Thorsby Network of Trails (TNT) is approximately 6KM of single-track, multi-use pathways located along Weed Creek. The trails can be accessed at the Lions Campground and allow residents and visitors to enjoy nature and get active.

In 2019, a dedicated team of representatives from a variety of local organizations and sectors came together to focus on creating healthier spaces and places in Thorsby. Using the Alberta Healthy Communities Approach, the team completed assessments focusing on strengths and opportunities, and subsequently identified physical activity and mental health as priority areas.

During the pandemic the community was surveyed to see how often the trail system was utilized and if any enhancements would increase access and usage. Many agreed that improving and expanding the trail system was a great idea. Parts of the trails were then cleared, leveled, or expanded in width. Rest points and benches were added, and new signage was posted throughout the trail system.

In 2021, the Community of Warburg and Thorsby jointly applied for a Rural Mental Health grant and were the successful applicants. The grant funds allowed for more work to be done on the trails including additional features such as wayfinding, fences for safety and story boards to engage the community.

Story Boards are weatherproof message boards with stands that are interchangeable for stories, flyers, quotes, community information and pictures. They were installed along the Trails by the Lion’s Park. The Elementary school participated in the project by drawing pictures, writing stories, or quotes and 35 of them are now displayed in the story boards along the Trails. All of the artwork will be displayed over the next few months. These story boards provide inspiration to those who stop to read them.

What a great way to promote positive mental health – working together to spend more time in nature!

The Outcomes

So many people have contributed to this project! Volunteers have donated hours of their time to repair and build additions to the TNT. Local businesses have offered financial support and supplies. A student used his talents to create a video of the trail system using footage captured by his drone. Communities in Bloom volunteers came out to install nesting boxes for birds, bird feeders, and bat houses built by Ruhr Lumber. In the orchard area, fruit trees and shrubs now have signs that include a brief description of its kind. Thanks to CE Media for making the signs and installing them!