David Staples, ever the supporter of getting more people into Edmonton’s river valley (a noble goal), wants more restaurants and washrooms in the valley.
Although I agree wholeheartedly about adding washrooms — many popular trail heads lack washroom facilities — I disagree about the restaurants.
It would be nice to have some places to eat in the river valley, for sure. Adding a restaurant with a large patio to Louise McKinney Park, for example, would be awesome. But that’s a very developed, “groomed” park space where adding infrastructure would make sense.
Making sure that you’re never more than 1-2 kilometres from a restaurant, anywhere in the river valley? That’s extreme and risks destroying the sense of being completely immersed in nature and the ease with which you can forget you’re in the middle of a major city while hiking in the valley.
If you’re planning a walk, hike or bike ride in the river valley, bring a snack. Pack a picnic. You don’t need easy access to restaurants. Water bottle filling stations at trail heads would be nice, but that’s really all that’s needed.
Of course, it would be kinda nice to have a cold pint after a long hike…beer gardens at all major trail heads? 😉