Last week an early morning fire destroyed the north part of the 450-metre long Beaver River trestle bridge on a spur of the Iron Horse Trail near Cold Lake. Users of the trail are being urged by Marianne Price, Administrative Coordinator for the Iron Horse Trail, not to go around the barricades as the remaining trestle is very dangerous. “Our next step is to assess the extent of the damage, and see if the north side can be rebuilt,” Price said. The bridge, valued at $2.28 million, was not insured as the cost was prohibitive. “You hope a situation like this doesn’t happen, but you make a decision and you live with it,” she said.

Built in 1931, the Beaver River trestle is one of 18 trestle bridges along the old CNR line. After the railway abandoned the rail line in 1999, 10 municipalities acquired it for a multi-use recreational trail. It forms a spur of the 300-kilometre-long Iron Horse Trail that runs from Smoky Lake County to Heinsburg as part of the Trans Canada Trail; the Cold Lake spur is part of the Trans Canadian Snowmobile Trail. The trail opened on 8 June 2003.