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Alberta is proposing legislation that the government says would modernize and upgrade thousands of kilometres of recreational trails on public lands.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon says the proposed Trails Act would allow some trails to be designated for specific uses, such as hiking or for off-highway vehicles.

There would be $4.5-million to help managers build and maintain the routes.

Nixon says there would be consultation on any new trails, and cultural heritage and critical habitat would be taken into account.

He says no existing trails would be closed, and First Nations and Metis harvesting rights would be respected on any new or upgraded path.

The plan is to address existing designated trails but also thousands of kilometres of other trails.

“Alberta has hundreds of thousands of unmanaged trails due to industrial activity, which can cause environmental and public safety concerns, such as poor water crossings that are harmful to fish,” Nixon told a news conference Tuesday before introducing the legislation.

“The Trails Act will help modernize Alberta’s trail system and make trails safer by ensuring they’re managed properly and are more enjoyable to use and environmentally sustainable.”

Alberta’s trail legislation has not been updated since 1979.

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