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Celebrating two decades of trail development in Grand Forks

The 22-year vision of using the Black Train Bridge (BTB) for pedestrians was fulfilled with a trails ribbon-cutting event and bridge rededication to a local fallen soldier, Master Corporal Darrell J. Priede. With the grand opening a significant link in the trail system of Grand Forks is now complete and ready to revolutionize commutes.
 
Unanimously viewed as a tremendous asset supporting strong quality of life in the city, the extensive trail system, “will change your life if you use it,” stated Grand Forks City Councillor Chris Moslin, while summoning citizens to “take up the challenge to enrich your life.”
 
Both commuters and those out for a lovely stroll should find ease of access and inspiration from sensations along the way. The traveller will reconnect with nature, “hear the river rumbling and smell the freshness of the earth,” added Moslin.
 
Moslin was determinedly focused on the environmental aspects, while Mayor Brian Taylor pointed to the community, “Our ‘pedestrian culture’ is significant, and separates Grand Forks from other cities. Seniors and cyclists have the ability to move about the community without the need to worry.”
 
The gateway to South Ruckle connects citizens to school, downtown, the arena and pool, hospital, work, and the grocers. They are able to walk lighted pathways, pedal on clearly marked bike lanes, and view their destinations on a map located at the new kiosk in the plaza across from the bridge.
 
The grand opening, held on Saturday, May 14, included an official ribbon cutting by Cody and Clinton Erlandsen and Erna Gobbett. Local government officials who participated in the celebration included Electoral Area D representative Irene Perepolkin, Moslin and Taylor. Long time trails volunteer George Longden, Scott Shephard of Urban Systems, and Jim Bishop of the Trans Canada Trails Foundation also spoke at the event.
 
Local businesses were engaged with many different facets of the project, explained Longden, chair of the Grand Forks Trails Society. Son Ranch Timber built the kiosk which houses the map, while the Boundary Woodworkers refurbished an old Canadian Pacific Railway tool shed which will house a permanent timeline display. Urban Systems and Argosy Construction aided with engineering this project bringing it in on time and under budget. Eagle Mountain Custom Metalworks finished the railings along the bridge while Angel Adam Welding was primarily responsible for the dedication plaque.
 
The plaque, which is wonderfully inscribed and mounted midway across the bridge, shall always bear the name and memory of the young man it honours. Master Corporal Darrell J. Priede called Grand Forks home. He was in service with the Canadian Forces for his photography skills, capturing images to be used in the Canadian Army News. Tragically, his life was lost in Afghanistan.
 
John Priede, father of Darrell, offered an emotional testimony about the life of his son, and the dedication of the bridge. “Darrell would be so honoured by the place he called home. This dedication is not just for our son, but for all Canadians who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Priede said.
 
The Black Train Bridge will now be known as the Darrell J. Priede Bridge - may it stand for generations to come. 

Please view the attached video for the Canadian Forces dedication messages. Click to enlarge the photos from the day’s ceremonies!