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Survey Results & Outcomes

We recently distributed a survey to many members of the trail and hiking community. This survey was sent in order to receive information on how we can make trails a better and safer experiences for users and operators. We received considerable feedback on various issues and we will be reviewing the best approaches to deal with these issues. Thanks to all those who took the time to complete the “Trail User” or the “Trail Operator” Surveys. Some of the issues that were identified include:

 

Number of Trails in Saskatchewan

Issue: Many people indicated that Saskatchewan does not have an adequate number of trails. This could also be due to lack of knowledge of current trails. Walking and running are leading for use of trails but just barely, snowmobiling, ATVing, skiing, and cycling all follow very close behind.

Outcome: We would all love more trails in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, it is a long and expensive process to build new trails and continue to maintain them. We are working on building new trails in the future, as well as reopening and maintaining current trails, but we also want to focus on educating the trail community on all of the currently operational trails. The survey showed mixed results to where new trails should be made, but there was a consensus that new trails and methods to find new trails should be made. We have been promoting the STA’s trail directory and other sources to find trails on social media as well as the blog and newsletter. One person suggested “The park could sponsor family biking days, where local bike shops take groups out for training rides.” This could work if more trail directors ran event days to spread awareness about trails like Meewasin does. Diversity in the trails is required, both longer day trails and short trails requested with varying difficulty.

 

Safety

Issue: For the most part, the majority of survey takers felt safe on the trails, the few whom didn’t suggesting culling wild hogs, more shelters in Prince Albert National Park, and drinking and driving checks for snowmobilers and ATVers.

Outcome: We will be looking into the possibilities of finding solutions for these problems as well as educating trail users on how to avoid these issues to begin with!

Signage

Issue: The general consensus on signage was that it is all right and is somewhat adequate. Many commented they would like more signage, maps, and signs to show Point of Interests (POIs) on their journey. Most people search for trails using internet and word of mouth with few using trail guides or apps. There should be more promotion of the STA’s trail directory and resources blog as people will find it easier to access the info they are looking for. The info people want to know about parks is their location, condition reports, maps, snow condition, and trail descriptions.

Outcome: We will continue to promote information like trail locations, reports, maps, and descriptions as well as working with trail operators and various trails to improve signage and make them aware of the issues in order to better solve these issues.

ATV Use

Issue: There seems to be disagreement between two groups of people in regard to ATV use. One side argues there are not enough ATV trails and information while others argue that ATVers wreck the trails, are dangerous and don’t respect the land. Drinking and riding laws and enforcement was also brought up multiple times.

Outcome: This is a difficult issue to address. Many people have suggested various plans or ideas to fix this problem. Currently, we are gathering more information and opinions in order to see all points of view and do what we can to address this particular issue.

 

Maintenance

Issue: Many trail users pointed out that there are trails that are not being maintained whether the damage be from ATVs, weather, litter, or just usage. The lack of maintenance makes these trails less enjoyable, more difficult to use, or completely unusable.

Outcome: Maintenance is a large job. Many trails rely on user groups and volunteers to clean up and assist in maintaining the trails. This is an issue that is directly linked to trail budgets and that we will be further looking into and discussing with trail operators to find a solution for.

 

Leave No Trace

One survey respondent recommended it would be nice to see Saskatchewan adopt the Leave No Trace principles on all their trails. www.leavenotrace.ca. This could potentially decrease some of the maintenance issues.

 

Outcome: We also want to learn more about any possible ways to improve the quality of Saskatchewan trails so we will be looking further into these possibilities.

Amenities

Issue: Lack of amenities was something that appeared a few times in the survey. Lack of washrooms and garbage cans often create unneeded waste being disposed of on the trails. This creates a larger need for trail maintenance which is already lacking. Amenities such as washrooms, garbage and shelters would alleviate some of the issues trail users are having and make it easier to hold various events.

Outcome: We will be reviewing these findings to determine the best steps to do what we can to address this issue. In the future we are looking at growing the amenities at various trails to help keep trails clean and promote events.

 

Operator Concerns

Issue: Trail operators have some concerns and issues including maintenance, budgeting, and consistent grants. We also heard about the difficulties being faced and potential fixes to some of the problems.

Outcome: We will be taking in this info for further evaluation and continuing discussion with trail operators on how we can find solutions to these issue and better work together with the community to improve the trails throughout Saskatchewan.

 

Conclusion

The one thing everybody seemed to agree on was that they enjoyed using trails and trails are a great activity for groups and families! We are working on taking all of the info we received from you and using it to identify the largest issues and the best plans of attack to combat these issues. Thanks to your help, we are hopefully going to be able to make the trails a greater experience for all users. We love to see trail users out on the trail enjoying their time in nature and soaking up everything trails have to offer. Keep it up and trail on!

 

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Hiking The Trails And The Health Benefits!

There are trails to accommodate anyone, with trail ranging from a calm walk in the park to trails with steep inclines and obstacles. Regardless of your athletic ability’s or skills, anyone can enjoy nature on the trails. Not only are trails a fun and exciting way to spend time outdoors but there are also many health benefits such as:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
  • Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
  • Strengthen your core
  • Improve balance
  • Help control your weight
  • Boost your mood
  • Combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improve mental health

This weekend try out a new trail and see where the path takes you while enjoying nature and all of the positive benefits hiking can have in your life! Find the trail that fits you best and recharge your mind, body and soul! Remember while out on your hike to take lots of pictures of your favorite trails and spot to share with us on social media using #SaskTrailsPhotoContest for your chance to win a great prize! Don’t know where the trails are? Checkout our blog: https://sasktrails.ca/how-to-find-trails-in-saskatchewan/!

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Tips and Tricks for Beginner Hikers

Gear Up!

Before jumping onto a trail and getting your adventure on, there are some key items you should have. These items can help you be prepared if anything happens or just make your hike more enjoyable! All of these items can help you be prepared for whatever you encounter:

 

  • Comfortable Backpack- Ensuring your backpack has room to fit all of your needs but not too clunky or uncomfortable. You backpack is with you the whole hike, it’s the last thing you need holding you back.
  • Good Footwear- A good pair of hiking shoes or boots can make a large difference on your comfort, feet, and safety on any trail
  • Snacks/Water- Healthy snacks can help maintain your energy level and are always good to have if you get lost
  • Light device- When hikes last longer than anticipated and the sun sets sooner then you thought, it is good to have a source of light with you
  • First-Aid Supplies- You can never be too careful
  • Phone or GPS- Phones and GPS can have downloaded maps and various apps to aid your travels
  • Hat- A hat on a hot day is important to avoid heat stroke
  • Sunscreen, Bug Spray, Bear Spray- Repellent are great to avoid unwanted pests like mosquitoes, bears and harmful UV rays
  • Camera- Lastly, a camera is a great way to capture great memory’s and scenic views to save and look back on. You can also enter your photos on social media to win a $200 prize pack, for more info check out: https://sasktrails.ca/2019-give-us-your-best-shot-photo-contest/!

You may not need everything on this list depending on when and where you plan on going but it never hurts to be prepared! This basic gear will help you take on any trail you encounter!

 

Ease Yourself In!

Everyone knows trails can be a ton of fun. Longer more difficult trails can make for even more fun. Before jumping into a full day trail with both feet, try attempting a few entry level paths or trails. Many people assume because we are in Saskatchewan that all trails are just flat, but many trails have steep elevation and varying terrain to hike. Trail difficulties, distances, pictures, and more info can be found through the online resources found here: https://sasktrails.ca/best-online-trail-resources-to-checkout-before-your-next-hike/. Apps and websites like AllTrails, Trail Forks, or Saskatchewan Trails Directory can give you an idea of what you are walking into before you even start!

 

Research Your Trail!

Know the trail! There are a ton of different resources a beginner hiker can use to help navigate their expedition. Unfortunately, you can not always rely on the on-site maps to be there when you get lost. Fortunately, there are apps and websites that you can use to gauge the difficulty, distance, points of interest, and even download maps that you can use without an internet connection. Nobody expects to get lost but, in an emergency, these resources can be a life saver! You can find some online resources to aid in your research here: https://sasktrails.ca/best-online-trail-resources-to-checkout-before-your-next-hike/. These tools allow you to know exactly what’s going on in the world of trails and what you need to know to be prepared for your adventure!

 

Water, Water, Water!

Before, during, and after exploring a trail, water is your best friend. The importance of hydration is often overlooked, but without water your body cannot perform at its highest level. During a hike, especially on a hot day where you are perspiration, water is needed in order to maintain endurance, lubricate joints, avoid heatstroke, and control your internal temperature. Water helps your body to transport nutrients and give you more energy! Make sure to drink a few bottles of water before your trail, bring plenty water with on your trail, and drink some more afterwards!

 

Bring a Friend!

Not only does bringing a friend reduce the chances of an accident or dangers, bringing friends or family make a hike so much more enjoyable! Getting lost or finding yourself in a tricky situation can be aided by bringing a few people along with. A friend can help you feel more secure on the trails as well as add extra knowledge on different potential dangers. Joining a trail group is always an option too, trail groups are a great way to meet new hiking friends and learn lots!

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How To Find Trails In Saskatchewan!!!

The biggest question we seem to keep getting is “where are all the trails located?” We want to help you learn more about trails in Saskatchewan near you, how to get there, and what to expect when you do get there! We put together a few ways to find new adventures, learn more about your local trials and see a few beautiful pictures of what awaits you on these trails!

 

  • SASKATCHEWAN TRAILS ASSOCIATION DIRECTORY – The trail directory was created by us, the Saskatchewan Trails Association and allows you to learn about new trails to experience, trail locations, difficulty, and length. Don’t know where to go, or unsure of where to start your hiking experience? The trail directory can help you get from point A to point B on your journey to experience nature on the trails. As well as having an in-depth directory of different trails, the STA directory also holds many stunning photographs of the trails and describes exactly what to expect. We are doing our best to constantly update our directory to offer you the best one stop resource for trails in Saskatchewan! The STA directory is a great place to start to learn about some of the greatest local trails. You can visit the STA’s directory at: https://sasktrails.ca/trail-directory/.

 

  • ALLTRAILS – AllTrails is one of the highest rated and used trail apps on the market. AllTrailshelps people explore the outdoors with the largest collection of detailed, hand-curated trail maps as well as trail reviews and photos crowdsourced from a community of 10 million registered hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. AllTrails has a beautiful collection of photography taken from different trails to give you a snippet of the wonders that await on whichever path you choose to navigate. This app is especially useful for providing you with a huge amount of information on all the diverse trails around Saskatchewan, it even tracks your hikes for you. AllTrails has 88 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Whether you’re looking for the best trails in Prince Albert National Park of Canada or around Maple Creek, Prince Albert National Park or North Battleford we’ve got you covered. For some great local park options, check out Eb’s Cross-Country Ski Trails. Just looking to take a quick stroll? AllTrails has got 52 easy trails in Saskatchewan ranging from 0.7 to 16.1 miles and from 1,213 to 4,255 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you’ll be out on the trail in no time! AllTrails has more than your average trail website or app and has valuable resources for even the most experienced of hikers. You can download the AllTrails app or find it at: https://www.alltrails.com/.

 

 

  • TOURISM SASKATCHEWAN.COM– Tourism Saskatchewan doesn’t have the most trails but has a huge selection of the best location around Saskatchewan to do various activities such as hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, biking, ATVing, bird watching, picnic areas, and boat launches. Check out TourismSaskatchewan.com before your next trail, checkout reviews, and see if there are any other activities that are close by the trail. Find Tourism Saskatchewan at: https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/trails#sort=relevancy.

 

  • TRAIL FORKS – Trail Forks is website and app built by trail enthusiasts, for trail enthusiasts. Trail Forks focuses on mountain bikers but still has a plethora of useful reports for those who prefer to walk the trails. Trail Forks is an extremely useful tool for every hiker to check before their expedition on the trails. Trail Fork is much like other trail and hiking apps, but it allows users to create reports on various dangers or problems with certain trails and things to know/avoid before going out. In depth trail analysis and information is given by the community so hikers know exactly what they are walking into. From new trails, to trail updates, to whether forecasts, Trail Forks can make sure you avoid any potential dangers. You can download the Trail Forks app or visit the website at: https://www.trailforks.com/.

 

  • SASKHIKER.COM– SaskHiker is a Saskatchewan based community website created by hiking enthusiast Jay Brown from Saskatchewan. SaskHiker allows you to find trails, read/post blogs, and submit your favorite trails/locations to go for an adventure to. This is a strong community of passionate people who love getting out into nature. You can even find others to go on adventures with. You can visit SaskHiker at: https://www.saskhiker.com/. You can also follow SaskHiker on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for great posts on everything about Hiking in Saskatchewan!

 

The websites and apps can help you find the trail that best suits you! Never let the possibility of getting lost stop you from experiencing mother nature on your next adventure. These resources give you all the tools you need to strap up your boots and get out on the trails! Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and share your experiences with us using #SaskTrailsPhotoContest! More trail and hiking resources can be found here: https://sasktrails.ca/best-online-trail-resources-to-checkout-before-your-next-hike/! Stay tuned to our blog for more upcoming posts with tips and tricks to keep you safe and happy while on the trail!

 

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Have A Blast, Explore Nature and Celebrate Saskatchewan and International Trails Day on June 1st

Every day is a great day for a trail, but join us on Saturday, June 1 to celebrate Saskatchewan Trails Day, held in conjunction with International Trails Day.  The Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) is encouraging people to find their path on Saskatchewan Trails Day. This gives everybody an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the beautiful and diverse trails in our province. In addition to a wonderful time, trails promote healthy living, economic development, tourism, and environmental preservation.

“Escape the indoors, and explore the vast wonders of the Saskatchewan trails,” said STA President David Powell. “Bring all of your family and friend, or even have your own solo adventure on a new trail. While out on your exploration, we encourage you to share your experience and photos with us using #SaskTrailsDay.  You can follow us and our experience on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

As part of the Saskatchewan Trails Day celebrations, the STA is launching a month-long photo contest. Take lots of photos of your favorite trails, views, or even you and your hiking group and submit them to us through our Instagram account at #SaskTrailsDay. You can enter as often as you like and the best photo, as selected by the STA board of directors, will receive a prize package valued at $200. Don’t miss out, we cannot wait to see all the expeditions you embark on. All photos become property of the STA and will be used to promote your favorite trails. The contest begins on Saskatchewan Trails Day and wraps up on June 30 and is part of the June is Recreation and Parks Month in the province. A decision on the top prize will be made the following week.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Saskatchewan Trails Associations trail directory. The trail directory allows you to learn about new trails to experience, trail locations, difficulty, and length. Don’t know where to go, or unsure of where to start your hiking experience? The trail directory can help you get from point A to point B on your journey to experience nature on the trails. 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. Memberships to become a STA member are also 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! Visit 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. Every new trail offers a unique adventure!

For more information, contact Pat Rediger at (306) 522-9326 or email prediger@sasktrails.ca

 

 

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2019 Give Us Your Best Shot Photo Contest!

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Give Us Your Best Shot!

The Saskatchewan Trails Association will be running a month-long “Give Us Your Best Shot” photo contest in June.  The photo contest begins on June 1 — Saskatchewan Trails Day – and concludes on June 30.  A prize package valued at $200 will be presented to our winner. To enter our contest, post a picture of your favorite trail in Saskatchewan on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, using the hashtag #SaskTrailsPhotoContest. We must be able to see your picture for you to be entered in the contest, so be sure to check your privacy settings. Posts must be made public to be counted as an entry.  You may also submit them via email to info@sasktrails.ca. Get excited about nature and submit all of your best pics from your trail adventures!

 

Entry Procedure:

The contest is available for all residents of Saskatchewan. STA board and staff may submit their pictures but are not eligible to win the contest. While photos may be submitted multiple times using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or email, there is only one entry per unique photo. You may enter as many unique photos as you wish to the contest.

 To enter the STA Give Us Your Best Shot contest, you must submit your photos by posting on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #SaskTrailsPhotoContest. We must be able to see your picture for you to be entered in the contest, so be sure to check your privacy settings. Posts must be made public to be counted as an entry.  You may also submit them via email to info@sasktrails.ca. Pictures submitted by email may be subsequently posted to our Facebook page.

 

Prize:

The winner will be chosen at the end of the month, and announced on our pages, the winner will also be contacted through social media to arrange to claim their prize(s). Prizes must be claimed within 6 months. Pictures will only be accepted into the contest until June 30th, so be sure to get your pictures in before then. As pictures come in they may be featured on our page, with credit to the photographer.  The best of luck to all that enter, we can’t wait to see your adventures!

 

Rules for Submission:

If you do not want to grant Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) these permissions, please do not submit your photo. In order for STA to use your photo, you confirm that (a) your photo is your own original work; (b) you own all the rights in the photo, including copyright; (c) you have the right to give STA the permission to use your photo for the purposes specified in these rules; (d) the photo is not defamatory and does not infringe any Canadian laws or violate the rights of any third party; (e) you have the consent of anyone who is identifiable in your photo or the consent of their parent/ guardian if they are minors; (f) you waive any moral rights that you may have in the photo; (g) you indemnify STA against any claim, demand, action, suit, or other proceedings against STA arising out of the use of the photo or any false or inaccurate statements.

 

By entering, contestants agree to abide by the contest rules which shall be applied by Saskatchewan Trails Association

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Best Online Trail Resources To Checkout Before Your Next Hike!

Here comes the sun! I am sure we can all agree that summer is finally here and its officially time to get onto the trails. With Saskatchewan Trails Day as well as Recreation and Parks month all June fast approaching there is no excuse to not get out into mother nature! We all know how much fun trails can be on a beautiful day in Saskatchewan. Many of us also know how disappointing it is to get lost or to travel to your favorite trail just to find out it is now too muddy, too wet or even under construction making it impossible to hike. These online websites and apps can help you to get the most out of adventure and take away some of the pains of hitting the trails. All resources on the list have the link attached or can be downloaded on the apple or android app store. Here are some of the top online resources to checkout before your next hike! Let us know if we missed any and what your favorite resource for hiking is!

 

  • SASKATCHEWAN TRAILS ASSOCIATION DIRECTORY – The trail directory allows you to learn about new trails to experience, trail locations, difficulty, and length. Don’t know where to go, or unsure of where to start your hiking experience? The trail directory can help you get from point A to point B on your journey to experience nature on the trails. As well as having an in-depth directory of different trails, the STA directory also holds many stunning photographs of the trails and describes exactly what to expect. The STA directory is a great place to start to learn about some of the greatest local trails. You can visit the STA’s directory at: https://sasktrails.ca/trail-directory/.

 

  • ALLTRAILS – AllTrails is one of the highest rated and used trail apps on the market. AllTrails helps people explore the outdoors with the largest collection of detailed, hand-curated trail maps as well as trail reviews and photos crowd sourced from a community of 10 million registered hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. AllTrails has a beautiful collection of photography taken from different trails to give you a snippet of the wonders that await on whichever path you choose to navigate. This app is especially useful for providing you with a huge amount of information on all the diverse trails around Saskatchewan, it even tracks your hikes for you. AllTrails has more than your average trail website or app and has valuable resources for even the most experienced of hikers. You can download the AllTrails app or find it at: https://www.alltrails.com/.

 

  • TOURISMSASKATCHEWAN.COM– Tourism Saskatchewan doesn’t have the most trails but has a huge selection of the best location around Saskatchewan to do various activities such as hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, cross county skiing, biking, ATVing, bird watching, picnic areas, and boat launches. Check out TourismSaskatchewan.com before your next trail, checkout reviews, and see if there are any other activities that are close by the trail. Find Tourism Saskatchewan at: https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/trails#sort=relevancy.

 

  • TRAIL FORKS – Trail Forks is website and app built by trail enthusiasts, for trail enthusiasts. Trail Forks focuses on mountain bikers but still has a plethora of useful reports for those who prefer to walk the trails. Trail Forks is an extremely useful tool for every hiker to check before their expedition on the trails. Trail Fork is much like other trail and hiking apps, but it allows users to create reports on various dangers or problems with certain trails and things to know/avoid before going out. Trail Fork lets users know if the trails are well maintained, muddy, have problems, or even for the winter hikers, if a trail is snowed out/too icy. In depth trail analysis and information is given by the community so hikers know exactly what they are walking into. From new trails, to trail updates, to whether forecasts, Trail Forks can make sure you avoid any potential dangers. You can download the Trail Forks app or visit the website at: https://www.trailforks.com/.

 

  • VIEW RANGER – A popular hiking app, ViewRanger helps hikers plan, navigate, record and share their outdoor adventures. It’s even used by several search and rescue teams around the world thanks to its advanced GPS navigation system. What makes View Ranger very user friendly is its compatibility with apple and Android Watch. Weather it is finding new trails, or downloading maps, or tracking your hikes, ViewRanger can help! Download the ViewRanger app on the apple of android app store, or visit the website at: https://www.viewranger.com/en-us.

 

  • SASKHIKER.COM– SaskHiker is a Saskatchewan based community website created by hiking enthusiast Jay Brown from Saskatchewan. SaskHiker allows you to find trails, read/post blogs, and submit your favorite trails/locations to go for an adventure to. This is a strong community of passionate people who love getting out into nature. You can even find others to go on adventures with. You can visit SaskHiker at: https://www.saskhiker.com/.

 

  • SPYGLASS- Spyglass doesn’t have much to do with trails or hiking but it can help you to find your way to where you need to go. Spyglass is an advanced compass and GPS navigation app for iPhone, iPad, iOS and Android. Spyglass comes in handy as a car, bike, boat, aircraft, vehicle or walking compass and GPS navigation to drive, cycle, sail, fly or hike off the road, in the field or woods, in the sea and in the air. For anyone who loves the outdoors, Spyglass is for you, with bountiful features, augmented reality, navigation through the stars and various other navigation tools and monitors, spyglass can guide you to wherever you desire. Download Spyglass on your favorite apple or android device on the app-store.

 

  • GEOCACHE – For anyone who doesn’t already know what geocaching is, Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Geocache has both an app and a website to get you going on your first treasure hunt. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be hidden anywhere and tend to be bountiful on various trail and provincial parks. Geocaching is a great way to get friends and family members out into nature searching for hidden treasures by adding an extra bit of excitement into your hike. Once a geocache is found, you can take one item from the container and must put one item back in. These hidden prizes are often not valuable but offer a unique way to capture and save a memory. Download the app on the app-store or visit: https://www.geocaching.com/play.

 

  • FIRST AID BY RED CROSS – This app is on the list because it can save your life. Nobody ever expects to get injured on a leisurely hike, yet accidents still happen. First Aid by Red Cross is a key resource for any fan of trails from beginner to professional. Simple, step-by-step instructions guide you through everyday first aid scenarios. Fully integrated with 911, so you can call EMS from the app at any time. Videos and animations to help you sharpen your first aid skills. Safety tips for everything from severe winter weather to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, to help you prepare for emergencies. Preloaded content means you have instant access to all safety information at any time, even without reception or an Internet connection. Interactive quizzes allow you to earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your lifesaving knowledge. First Aid can be downloaded on the apple or android app-store!

 

  • GAIA GPS – For the more experienced and serious hikers and trail takers, Gaia GPS offers a feature rich app that can help you to navigate the most difficult of trails. Gaia GPS is an outdoor navigation app providing access to a rich catalog of maps including topographical, satellite, road, and the Nat Geo Trails Illustrated map series. As well as tracking hikes while measuring pace, distance and elevation as standard, it is also possible to download a range of offline maps for off-grid access. The app and accompanying web-based version allows for printing too. Gaia GPS can be download on the apple and android app-store!

 

Also, don’t forget to like and follow the Saskatchewan Trails Association on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more information on everything from new trails to safety tips and tricks! June is Recreation and Parks month and with Saskatchewan trails day fast approaching, we will once again be hosting a month-long photo contest. If you are out on the trails, snap some pictures and share them with us on our social media with the #SaskTrailsPhotoContest as many times as you like and be entered to win a price package valued at $200! Have fun, be safe, and keep on exploring beautiful Saskatchewan!

Lending our voice to important trail issues

In April, the STA wrote two letters of support relating to issues concerning trails in the provinces. This occurred after our AGM, where members voted that the STA should lend its voice to support trail development.

We wrote a letter to letter to the Minister Responsible for SGI to voice our support to create an effective ATV registration system in the province. The STA feels that requiring registration of ATVs would enable authorities and residents to efficiently identify ATVs, leading to effective enforcement of provincial regulations regarding the illegal operation of ATVs on public roads and public lands, and improved identification and recovery of stolen ATVs.

We received the following response:

SGI Response

The STA also wrote a letter of support to the Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport to applaud the Churchill River Water Trail Legacy Project sustainability project that will see vermicomposting toilets installed in northern canoe routes to effectively deal with the problem of human waste.

We received the following response:

Response Letter - Churchill River Water Trail Legacy Project

How not to train for a long run in the mountains

By Russell Hodgins

  1. Travel to Saskatoon.
  2. Forget to bring your hydration pack.
  3. Also forget to bring a water bottle.
  4. Be short on time and tell yourself you can’t go pick up a bottle of fluid.
  5. Go for a long run on the amazing trails that travel along the riverbank.
  6. Be thankful that it was a cool day and then return extremely dehydrated.
  7. Drink any fluid you can find for the next 24 hours.

The run started on the paved trails at the University of Saskatchewan and very quickly, there’s an option to get off road. What followed was a series of well packed dirt trails in a rollercoaster of ups and downs. There were multiple trails so at times, I climbed up to enjoy the views and then dropped down to the river flats where I was running in the sand. The turnaround point was at the Peggy McKercher Conservation Area and just before that, is an excellent mountain bike trail that travels near the top of the river valley before dropping down and looping back closer to the river. Closer to the city, I met several people out walking their dogs along with some very courteous bike riders. Farther out, it was mostly people with backpacks getting ready for summer outings I assumed.

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Just before the Conservation Area, my wanderings had me on deer trails but the better option would have been to stay on the actual trails.

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Never let common sense and good judgement get in the way of a nice run! A huge thank you to the people of Saskatoon who keep these trails in such good shape.

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Running the Trails in Saskatchewan

By Nicole Williams

Trail running is quickly gaining traction in the province as runners look to move off the road and into the great outdoors.

This sport involves running on any off-road surface, such as coulees, fields, forests, hills or dirt paths. The benefits include less strain and stress on your body, particularly your lower back and glutes, as you’re running on softer, more forgiving terrain than asphalt and cement. The changing landscape also increases the development of lesser-used stabilizing muscles, resulting in less repetitive movements and less risk of developing injuries that are common in road running.

Other added benefits include running in fresh air, which is better for overall lung health, and stress reduction from being away from the city, focusing less on home and work, and more on exploring the natural world around you.

Little equipment is required to get started. Road running shoes can be used; however, if you plan on spending any amount of time on the trails, you may want to buy a pair of trail running shoes. These shoes are designed to grip the softer terrain found on trails, are lower to the ground for better stability, and contain an extra layer that protects your feet from rock and other puncture wounds.

Trail runners will need to carry extra supplies with them to deal with the new challenges that comes with running off-road. You will want to invest in a comfortable, lightweight backpack to carry essential supplies such as a water bottle, bug repellent, food, sunscreen, GPS or compass with a map, a headlamp (if running at dusk or night) and basic first aid supplies like band aids.

Developing a safety strategy is a must. Before heading out on the trails, let someone know your route and when you expect to return. You should also carry a cell phone in case of an emergency, and try to run with at least one other person. You may want to join a running group, such as the Regina Road Runners Club or the Saskatoon Road Runners, for the benefit of group trail runs and events in your area.

The following are just a few of the running trails you’ll want to check out this year.

Beaver Flat 50 Course, Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, is one of the most grueling running trails in the province. Its 50 km course features more than 2,300 metres of vertical climbs, narrow paths, cacti, sand and wet conditions, and it boasts the appropriate hashtag: #anythingbutflat. According to the group’s website, “You’re going to love it, hate it, and love it some more. Guaranteed.”

Deadfall 50 Course, Echo Valley Provincial Park, winds through the Qu’Appelle Valley along narrow trails and expansive pastures, providing breath-taking views and challenges for runners of every level: https://deadfall50.ca

The Wascana Valley Nature Recreation Site, aka Wascana Trails, offers 15 kms of exceptional Qu’Appelle Valley trails and scenery. Trail markers lead runners through pathways that boast winding, sharp descents, steep inclines, gradual hills and other obstacles and challenges that will leave you wanting to return again and again: https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/search-results/105290/regina—wascana-valley-trails.

Buffalo Pound Provincial Park hosts the annual Prairie Summit Run-It Trail Race course, which features challenging hills, woodlands, and open grassland pathways, providing exceptional vistas for all trail users to enjoy: https://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/provincialpark/303/buffalo-pound-provincial-park#sort=relevancy.

Remember, trail running is quite different from road running. You will not be able to run at the same pace on a trail as you do on a paved surface, so don’t focus on how many kilometers you’ve covered, but rather on your total time on the trails. Don’t be afraid to walk; steep inclines, rocky paths and hills are more challenging, and it’s okay to slow down and hike these areas. Falling is part of the experience, but as you get used to the off-road conditions, you will fall less. And, always be considerate to others on the trail: take out what you bring in, share the path, think of others, and don’t forget to stop and enjoy the view along the way.

Get off the beaten path; explore Saskatchewan’s running trails today!