A local group of residents is spearheading an effort to spruce up a portion of the Trans Canada Trail that runs between Altona and Gretna.

The trail was once a CP Rail line that ran between the two communities, but has long since been abandoned.

Group Spokesman Jake Enns says their proposal includes planting about 85-hundred trees along the five-mile path. He said there are several reasons for taking on such an ambitious project.

"It would be a beautiful, natural attraction and a complement to the Altona park and the Gretna golf course. Trees are aesthetically pleasing, and trees benefit the environment, protect the soil from water and wind, and people using the trail would have some protection from the wind once they have grown bigger."

Enns said he has come up with a plan that would ensure the survival of the young saplings they would plant along the wide-open prairie landscape.

"The right-of-way that CPR had was about a hundred feet wide, and within that space, we could plant a row of evergreens on each side, some distance from the border so that they wouldn't interfere with farmers working their fields. We could plant another row between the first row and the trail itself. In other words, two rows on each side."

The proposal calls for planting different kinds of trees, interspersed with shrubs to create some variety. Enns said Rhineland Municipality has offered to help with some of the surveying, and the town of Altona would assist with some of the watering of the trees. That would basically leave his committee with the work of planting.

"We would like all the help we can get in that regard because we can only plant so many trees by ourselves. It would be great if people would volunteer and help us plant."

The project will cost about $70,000 to complete, according to Enns and that means they will need to do some fundraising and apply for some government grants.

Enns feels they could begin work once farmers have taken their crops off in fall to allow them to prepare the trail area for the trees that would likely be planted the next year.