Hudson Bay Ski Club completes trail improvement project

The Hudson Bay Ski Club is pleased to announce that the trail improvement project for the Pineview Cross Country Ski Trails in the Hudson Bay Regional Park has been completed. The project was supported by a $500 Membership Grant from the STA.

Jasper and Benny Belhumeur web


Jasper and Benny are excited to try the new upgraded trail!

The project organizers were able to add a 1.6 kilometre loop that is wide enough to skate ski in the winter as well as being suitable for mountain biking or hiking in the summer. The total trail system in the Regional Park now sits at 12.3 km, which is maintained for skiing in the winter and hiking in all other seasons. All of the trails, including the new fun loops, now have GPS coordinates. A large trail map showing all current trails has been erected beside the first shelter at the start of the trail system. Each of the shelters has a new sign plus a number of small signs reminding users that these trails are not meant for motorized use.

The STA was proud to support this worthwhile project. If you’re interested in the STA helping bring your trail project to life, visit http://sasktrails.ca/trail-builders/#funding to learn more about our funding programs.

Deb Serhan at the improved Hilltop Shelter

Deb Serhan at the improved Hilltop Shelter

Celebrate Saskatchewan and International Trails Day on June 3rd

Every day is a great day for a trail, but join us June 3, 2017 to celebrate Saskatchewan Trails Day, held in conjunction with International Trails Day. The Saskatchewan Trails Association is encouraging people to find their path on Trails Day. This is an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the beautiful trails in our province. In addition to a wonderful time, trails promote healthy living, economic development, tourism, and environmental preservation.

Go have an adventure, and discover the beauty of the Saskatchewan trails. Bring your family, a friend, or have your own personal adventure. When you are out on the trails, we encourage you to share your experience with us using #SaskTrailsDay.   You can follow us and our experience on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also participate in our social media contest by sharing your pictures and experiences using the hashtag. To help you plan your adventure visit: www.sasktrails.ca – here you can find all the great tools to help assist you in your planning.

Five ways you could celebrate Saskatchewan Trails Day

1.   Try a new trail

You can visit the www.sasktrails.ca to find out more information about trails and activities you can do in your area. You can also visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more great information about trails.

2.  Introduce a friend to your favorite trail or to hiking

Share your love for nature and hiking in Saskatchewan with your friends! Being outside and being active with a friend is a great way to spend Saskatchewan Trail Day (or any Saturday!)

3.  Share your favourite trail photos with us #SaskTrailsDay

Share your experience on Saskatchewan Trail Day or any past experiences with us. Your pictures could be featured on our page and you could win great prizes!

4.  Become a Saskatchewan Trails Association member

Memberships are available for as little as $25 per year for an individual. STA members have accesses to trail funding and other resources, and can also attend and vote at meetings of members.

5.  Donate to Saskatchewan Trails Association

The Saskatchewan Trail Association accepts individual and corporate donations for communities, or to the trail of your choice, to help support trail development and maintenance programs in Saskatchewan.

TCT awarding grants for The Great Trail connection celebrations (Deadline Extended)

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In 2017, the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) has reached its goal of achieving country-wide connection of The Great Trail. Since 1992, TCT has been working with donors, partners, governments, landowners and volunteers to create an epic trail of trails offering a wide range of outdoor experiences on greenways, waterways and roadways.

A grand celebration to mark the occasion is being held on Aug. 26, 2017, and the TCT is handing out some grants to help groups across the country put on some unforgettable events.

Eligible Canadian trail groups, partners or municipalities may apply for a grant from TCT to host a connection celebration. TCT will support event grant requests in the amount of $1,500. Applications will be accepted until May 19, 2017.

Who is eligible?

  • Local trail organizations who either build, manage or operate sections of The Great Trail (groups who solely use the Trail will not be considered).
  • Municipalities that either build, manage or operate sections of The Great Trail (municipalities that border the Trail but have no responsibility for their section of The Great Trail will not be considered).
  • Groups on the main spine and groups on the spur trails linking to The Great Trail are considered eligible to apply.

To apply or get more information, visit TheGreatTrail.ca/Celebrations.

Michael Hornick donates $1,000 to the STA

We would like to thank Michael Hornick for his $1,000 donation to the Saskatchewan Trails Association in memory of Bill Hornick. The money will support the development of Elbow Trail.

In making his donation, Hornick becomes our second Trail Ranger, a classification of donors who give between $1,000 and $4,999.

For more information on ways you can support the STA, click here to visit our Get Involved page.

Joe Milligan receives inaugural STA Trail Stewardship Award

STA President Saul Lipton (right) presents Joe Milligan with the STA Trail Stewardship Award.

STA President Saul Lipton (right) presents Joe Milligan with the STA Trail Stewardship Award.

During the 2017 STA AGM, we were proud to recognize Joe Milligan as the recipient of the inaugural STA Trail Stewardship Award, which recognizes the outstanding people and organizations that have been dedicated to the restoration, preservation and enhancement of Saskatchewan’s trail system through a variety of efforts: contributing money to or raising funds for trail projects, serving as a trail advocate, or helping with the building and upkeep of trails.

Joe, a recreation/interpretive specialist with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, was nominated by the Saskatchewan All Terrain Vehicle Association Inc., which had this to say about Joe’s contributions:

Starting in his early days with the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association, Joe has dedicated his working life to trail development in the province. He has been a key contributor to the development of trails for all users in the province.

Joe was a driving force behind the development of the Moose Mountain ATV Trail. The trail is located in the back country of Moose Mountain and makes use of some of the snowmobile trails. The Government of Saskatchewan contributed $125,000 to the project, which was matched by the National Trails Coalition (NTC). Joe assisted in our NTC application and helped coordinate the matching contributions. Joe also helped select a project manager and the construction crew, while troubleshooting issues as they arose. He also oversaw community engagement on allowing ATV use in the park and how this might assist future ATV development on other Crown lands.

The new ATV Trail is very important to Moose Mountain as it will increase the park’s exposure. It will also be a great experience for the ATVers, as they will have the opportunity to pass through beautiful stands of aspen, birch, green ash and Manitoba Maple trees that characterize this unique southern Saskatchewan forest.

It should be noted that while Joe was working on the Moose Mountain project, he also assisted on trail development at Wascana Trails and Buffalo Pound Provincial. Recently, he assisted with the development of a new trail at Elbow.

Congratulations to Joe Milligan from everyone at the STA!

Informative presentations highlight STA AGM

STA AGM

Keith Bossaer, Oasis Insurance

The STA held its 2017 AGM on March 25 at the Home Inn & Suites Saskatoon South. There was a great turnout to the event and some productive discussions about issues facing trail builders, administrators and users in the province.

Here is a look at the three of the presentations that took place as part of the AGM:

Keith Bossaer, Oasis Insurance – The Right Insurance for Trail Administrators: Keith indicated that general liability is the core insurance for most organizations. Once you get that in place, you will usually require directors and officers (D&O) insurance. D&O insurance is important because once you are on a board, you become personally liable.

Keith indicated that Oasis Insurance can assist small organizations including bike clubs to get started. Prices are typically on a member based system. There are instances in other provinces when everyone gets named in a lawsuit such as ATV clubs, snowmobiles, trail operators, etc. It can be years before these clubs can be removed from the lawsuit. Oasis also does insurance for special events. Be aware that all policies will have a liquor exemption so it is not included as part of their regular policy. Oasis needs to add liquor as part of the insurance. There may be additional insured if the municipalities want to be covered for a race or run.Some clubs may need property insurance if they have a club house and also need the contents covered. Policies are done on a case-by-case basis.

Placing signage on bridges and other difficult spots on a trail can help mitigate your liability. Trailheads are also good for signage. If there is a problem with the trail you should identify it and place barrier around it as well. For groups that do walks and runs, they should ask the trail operator to be an additional insured.

Ryan Goolevitch, STA Secretary – OpenStreet Mapping: There is a need to develop more GPS maps. Most maps that the STA currently has on file are PDFs. OpenStreet map is like a Google map where you can see information, but all of the data has been contributed by people contributing the information. This is an open model that anyone can use.

You can update information right away on OpenStreet map. Google maps are not updated as quickly in this manner. There can be a lot more detail in just a few minutes, and anyone can be an editor. Mistakes can also be undone. It takes a person to create and input the data to create a base map. That information usually originates from free sources. Trail users should try to GPS your track logs and insert them into the map.

The software is available on many devices and you do not have to pay for updates. You can use aerial imagery tracing from places like Bing and upload the files. You can also take notes and record your trip on a phone app. When you upload it, it will automatically place it in the map according to GPS coordinates.

Kyla Tulloch, U of R student – Rails to Trails Conversion Guide: The Rails to Trails Conversion Guide consists of three components:  the framework, additional resources, and case studies. It contains 11 chapters and there is considerable information based upon the Rails Trails Conservancy. There are also excerpts from the case studies.

The guide has been written in a roughly chronological fashion to follow once a rail line has been scheduled for abandonment. There are additional resources throughout the document such as government websites, the National Trust of Canada, and various funding options.

Case Studies

Meadow Lake Pedestrian Trails: This trail project is led by the local In Motion steering committee and Flying Dust First Nation. They held a symposium to develop guiding principles and pathway. This led to a discussion on environmental remediation and costs. The complexity of the project makes it difficult to get volunteers. A visual aid was eventually developed that helped promote the project.

17th Street Greenway in Saskatoon: Residents were concerned about the deteriorating coordinator and approached the city. An open house was held to determine the best approach, which was later implemented.

Leader: This rail line was abandoned about 30 years ago and became used by land owners. Many were opposed to a trail since they had access to their land on the corridor. CN removed the bridges for liability reasons, which would later become an issue for development.

Regina Beach: A local landscape architect looked at creating a linear park in the Regina Beach area. There were a number of communities that would be linked. Regina Beach was most receptive. CN removed the culverts which created some problems. The project was successful in terms of usage.

STA releases 2016 Annual Report

The STA recently released its 2016 Annual Report.

This year marked another significant year of development for the STA. We created new educational resources for our members and the larger trail community, actively promoted trails to potential users and created and implemented a new fundraising strategy to assist members in developing and maintaining their trails.

For more information, click here to read our 2016 Annual Report.

The lost trail near Fairy Hill

A guest blog post from trail enthusiast Russ Hodgins.

Last summer, I ran from our place along the back trails and ended up at the Fairy Hill Natural Area. I had heard on the radio that there is a trail there but I never did find it. My guess is that I would have had to take the dirt road at the bottom of the valley east to access it, but as I still had a long run to get back home on a hot day, I  stopped short of going that far.

This is on the south east side at the top of the valley.

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I followed this old road for a bit and then cut into the pasture:

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I tried following the fence line but no trails anywhere near there:

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I ended up circling back towards highway #6 and found what I assume
was the old highway:

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This took me almost to the bottom and then I gave up and ran back  home. As I said, it was hot and I was short on water. I ran back up the highway and there was a Fairy Hill sign on the west side as well  but no trail there.

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Do you know where the trail is? Email us at info@sasktrails.ca.

New AGM Flyer

We’ve added an exciting new presentation to our AGM about rails-to-trails conversions. Check out our revised flyer below for all the details!

Promotional Flyer

 

Running the Boreal Trail – Part 4

A series of guest blog posts from trail enthusiast Russ Hodgins. Past posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Before I made it out to the main road, I went past Wolf Bay campsite but to get there, I had another creek to cross. Life being what it is, this was another challenge thrown in for good measure. It took a couple of false starts but I finally noticed the logs crossing the channel behind me and to the left in the photo. They got me onto the old beaver dam that ended at another homemade bridge. Despite hamming it up in the photos, I enjoyed these little navigational challenges because I knew the trail was there, I just had to find it. I might have been less receptive had it been cold and wet but the weather was fantastic.

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The bridge is shown below and when I made the step down off the dam towards it, my foot encountered nothing but fresh air under the tall grass and my legs straddled the logs. Before I could congratulate myself on a one point landing, the logs underneath became alive with wasps. My tired legs instantly found energy and I sprinted up and off now what shall be called “yellow jacket creek” and into the calf deep water beyond. Only got stung once so I consider that a victory.

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I waded over to dry land and this is the view looking back from whence I came:

If the brush was cleared off the old beaver dam and a slightly better bridge put in minus the yellow jackets, it would be an easy trip across with the option of keeping the feet dry.

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About a half mile away from Wolf Bay, I came to another skidder trail and walked, ran and tripped my way to Wolf Bay, F- bombs included as I wondered what kind of an idiot would try to run through this stuff. In the picture below, I believe the trail sign in the background is the trail to the campsite but I didn’t go exploring and continued out to the road.

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When I got out to the road, I had covered close to 40 km for the day and was looking forward to a nice run down a trail on the north side of the main road.

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A guy can dream because after only 100 yards down the old road on the north side, I got tired of ducking under alders as the trail was totally overgrown. I made the decision to walk through the bush out to the main road while it was still close by as I just wasn’t up to a long slog through the brush.

Pam had texted me shortly before saying they were riding the bikes out to meet me. I texted back that I had given up on the trail and was out on the main road. (the cell service was amazing on the west end of the trail, not so good farther east) She missed the text and they went the distance down this goat trail, passing me going the other direction and proving they were far tougher than I to make it through there with bikes. So for the record, from their experience I can say that the first part of the trail as it heads west is fine but about the last half to two thirds suck. Lauren’s comment as they fought their way through the brush was “I’m going to kill somebody!”  I’ll take that as meaning it wasn’t much fun.

They caught me as I was baking out on the road with Kellen arriving first with Pam and Lauren shortly after. Pam and Kellen went on ahead as I was walking up a long hill but Lauren stayed and walked with me. Much as I will love Kellen forever after he brought me cold water at the end of day 1, I shall love Lauren forever for this welcome support when I was going through a bad stretch.

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Once we arrived at the point where the trail goes into the bush to back country campsite BT 4, Lauren went on ahead on the main road back to the campground. I’m happy to report that the section from the road to BT 4 is in good shape and an absolute joy after frying out on the gravel road.

It is a very sheltered site close to the lake and had I been tenting and given the choice of being here or in the busy main campground just over a mile to the east, I would take the privacy of this place, thank you very much.

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As said earlier, it’s only slightly over a mile to get to Murray Doell campground from BT 4. How hard could that be? But before starting the last short run in, I actually found myself not really wanting it to end so I sat in the shade for a bit and just enjoyed the bush before pushing off. This close to the campground, I assumed the trail would get more foot traffic and be in decent shape.

Well, it did get more foot traffic but that was from bears and the odd beaver.

It started out ok…………

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Then not so ok…………………………..

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And then it disappeared and I found myself on a beaver trail heading down to the water. I circled back and found the very overgrown trail:

It’s in the center of the photo below…….really! That was the trail. Thankfully, this was a very short section and the trail improved greatly as the campground got closer.

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And then I came to the last creek crossing before Murray Doell Campground. It was here that I learned that the cold water really makes the blisters on your feet hurt. Maybe I should have stood in the creek longer to make them go numb but I was starting to be more like a horse getting closer to the barn and wanted to pick up the pace. Pretty spot though:

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It turned out that the creek was the reason the foot traffic stopped. Past the creek, it was a well-used trail back to the campground. (don’t quote me on this but I believe there is now a bridge over that last creek crossing)

And then the final run in where Pam, Kellen, Lauren and Anna had walked in part way up the trail to meet me.

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I was happy to be in and somewhere about here, my muscles started telling me they weren’t very happy about what I had just put them through, go figure.

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A dog bed can be very comfortable given the circumstances (the salt and vinegar chips tasted great also!):

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I’m happy to report that I did drag my sorry butt off Anna’s bed. A long shower improved my disposition tremendously, a great meal prepared by Lauren replenished my energy, the compression socks did their magic once again and I even did the dishes that night. I shall be forever thankful to Pam and the kids for their support that allowed me to have this incredible adventure. They went through a lot including swimmers itch so I could have this run. Another thank you goes to Murray Doell himself (a good friend, lost in a helicopter crash many years ago). When it started to hurt at certain points, I thought about him and how I was running to his campground. I couldn’t let him down and maybe borrowed some of his strength. However it worked, each time I thought about Murray, things got easier. Thanks buddy.

Looking back, now that the blisters on my feet have healed, I wish at times I would have had the energy to gut out the overgrown sections just to see them but it gives me a reason to go back and do it all over again. The trail has amazing potential and with some work, all the sections can be runnable or a really fantastic hike. It’s the longest trail in the province and a work in progress for the park staff. With all the fires this past summer, I didn’t expect the trail to be perfect so in a normal year, it would have been much better. Hats off to the people who made this trail a reality. The longest trail in Saskatchewan is well worth the effort to see it in its entirety.