By Cal Braid
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Trail 77 Association has been selected for the Spirit of Taber award by the Taber and District Chamber of Commerce and will celebrate with other awards recipients at a Jan. 19 banquet.
Trail 77 “was created to provide our community with access to maintained single track multi-use trails and biking and running events in the beautiful coulees of Taber. This group of dedicated, like-minded members appreciates the opportunity to encourage biking, hiking, walking, running, and geocaching for all ages. They also value their position to promote mental wellness within the community,” their website said.
Nicci Rasmussen is on the board for Trail 77 and said, “We’re very pleased to be recognized by the community and we’re really proud of the work we do out there. We get tremendous feedback from all members of the community and we’re really lucky to have the support of the M.D. and the Town. And businesses, too – when it comes to the pump track and the skills park, that was all funded by our community and businesses. We’re excited to be completed in the spring. I think it’ll be a great addition.”
Trail 77 was founded in 2020, and Rasmussen has been a member since the get-go before joining the board in 2021.
“The purpose of the trail club is to provide and maintain safe trails for hikers, bikers, walkers and runners for the betterment of our community,” she said.
There are about 30 trails, and many were built and are maintained by the club, with the exception of a few paved ones built by the Town. The single track trails have been given names, rated for degree of difficulty, and colour-coded accordingly. The club’s website shows a map of the trail system that doesn’t yet include the pump track or the skills park that are almost completed.
“Some of the trails may have existed for many years prior to the club, but what the club did was improve them to make them safe as well,” Rasmussen explained. “People have walked down in that valley for years, but the trails have been brought up to code.” The trails are built to specific guidelines to prevent erosion as well. Trail 77 builds some of the trails themselves and some with the help of professional builders.
The club had a trail master plan which they presented to the Town and the M.D. because the trails overlap property belonging to both. It was approved at all the different stages of development.
“The trails are incredibly active almost every day,” she said. “We get a lot of winter walkers, and the runners still run the trails all winter long. They’re active all year long.”
The club holds two yearly races: a runners race called Taber Tuff, and a riders race dubbed Oldman Mayhem. The club website describes Taber Tuff as a challenging “baby ultra run through the coulees.” Oldman Mayhem is a four-hour timed event with over 12 km per loop, and in 2023 the third annual race had space for 110 solo and team riders.
A kids group, Gnarly Niblets, is hosted by the trail club and teaches mountain bike safety and riding skills.
“We also do group rides, group runs, and various other group activities and events.” At present, the club has “just shy of 200 members,” according to Rasmussen. In 2023 memberships went for $35+GST, and this year’s rate will be determined by the time new memberships open up in the spring.
Congratulations to Trail 77 on receiving the award. tabertrail77.ca