The name of the future trail between Cochrane and Calgary has been narrowed to two and the hope is within a few weeks the final name will be announced.

The Cochrane Rotary Club is spearheading the initiative that has long been on the mind of steering committee chair Alex Baum. Last night, he walked town council through a chronological history of the project that dates back to 2012.

Attention to detail has been key with Baum and the Rotary Club in bringing together municipal and First Nations leaders, landowners, and sponsors to make it a reality. It's no different with the final name selection.

"We would sooner take a little longer than rush it through and make mistakes we wish we wouldn't have," he says.

He says a project of this magnitude involves working with multiple jurisdictions, each with its mandate, but the end result is worth the pursuit.

"We think when Stage One and Stage Two are done, it will bring the communities together at even a higher level."

A naming committee has sifted through over 1,200 name submissions to provide their two top choices.

"Now it's with the steering committee that we make sure that we do all the due diligence that's required to say a name can be used. An important part of that is, because we're on Treaty 7 lands and our neighbours are part of this project with us, is making sure they're fully engaged with us in the selection process, and then celebrate that when that name is selected."

The 38-km trail is Phase One of a larger vision to extend the trail to Canmore and make it part of the Trans Canada Trail. There is an existing trail system in the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and Calgary's Haskayne Park. The gap between those two parks as well as a link to the Cochrane Trail system needs to be completed. Estimates for its completion have been said to be between $10 and $20 million.

Baum says the steering committee has been pursuing grants, including the federal government's Active Transportation Fund, and working with major donors, some of which are expected to be announced soon.

There are several other opportunities to make a contribution, which you can find here.

It's been heralded as a people's project from the start, and there are fundraising opportunities for everyone.

"Those are the dollars that come in one loonie at a time, and those are the fun ones," says Baum. "We want to make sure we engage everybody who wants to be engaged financially in this, including families."

He reflects upon an earlier fundraising project of the Rotary Club that warms his heart.

"There were two young sisters that put up a lemonade stand and raised $250 for an important project we were doing. That's the kind of thing we want to make sure we include in this."

"Yes, major donors are important and we need them to complete the project, but we also need the lemonade stands."

The goal is to have the trail completed in time for the 2025 Rotary International convention being hosted by Calgary.

The Rotary's larger vision is to see the trail form a loop that goes through the Tsuut'ina Nation lands, West Bragg Creek, Sibbald Flats, and into Canmore, or coming back through Stoney Nakoda First Nation lands.