Gear up for a great trail experience

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Packing for the climate, weather conditions, and topography is essential. In this post, we’ll review some items that you won’t want to forget on your travels. It’s better to have them and not use them (in many cases) than to need them and not have them!

One exception to this rule is the temptation to bring the kitchen sink… “just in case.” You won’t need to worry too much about bringing rope for scaling mountains in Saskatchewan, for example, so weighing yourself down needlessly will only contribute to early exhaustion. It’s important to remember that you’ll be carrying all of this on your back – both your back and your stamina have to hold out to destination and back. Remember to listen to your body at all times, and to be mindful that your back, hips, and knees are not indestructible!

We’ve put our recommendation together after scouring many sources and asking around, as well as using our own experience on the trail to guide us. You’ll want to put together a pack that works for you based on your preferences, load-bearing capacity, and hiking experience.

Let’s start with the 10 essentials for survival

1) Navigation (map and compass)
2) Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
3) Insulation (extra clothing)
4) Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
5) First-aid supplies
6) Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
7) Repair kit and tools
8) Nutrition (extra food)
9) Hydration (extra water)
10) Emergency shelter

Most responsible hiking blogs will suggest that you pack these ten essentials for every trip, on the off-chance that you might get lost (and we’re no different!). The ten essentials list has undergone revision over the last 50 years – your grandfather’s boy scout list isn’t the same list as the one that we’ll list below, for good reason. These essentials are considered to be crucial for survival should you get lost or wounded in the woods – items like “extra water” have been added to the list now that we understand the importance of hydration. It never hurts to be prepared, even if you don’t use everything in your pack.

Here are some more areas you should focus on when packing for your next trail outing:

Appropriate clothing
Nothing can darken high spirits like being cold and wet, especially for extended lengths of time. Damp clothes (especially socks) can be more than discomfort and can lead to damaging conditions like blisters. At the extreme, wet and cold conditions can cause insulation to fail and hypothermia to set in. Are you afraid enough to do as your parents told you, and to dress warmly? GOOD. 😊 Here’s a list of ways to stay warm on the trail and to avoid discomfort and illness.

• Make sure that you prepare for the conditions to become both hotter and colder, wetter and windier. You might unexpectedly step in a mud puddle or encounter a surprise downpour.
• Cotton is to be avoided. There are many superior materials that are lighter and warmer. Synthetic fabrics are also more resilient to dampness, and will not break down like natural fibres when wet.
• What to wear/bring
– Moisture wicking t-shirt and underwear for warm weather
– Long-sleeved and long-legged bottoms for cold weather
– Extra socks (and maybe even an extra extra pair. I’ve learned to pack a thin, throwaway pair of socks “just in case”)
– Pants/shorts that dry quickly (skirts are lovely, but snag easily and leave you open to ticks. Be forewarned that jeans tend to dry somewhat slowly)
– Sun/rain hat
– Headband, bandana, or Buff (seamless, stretchy neck/headband)
– Rain jacket/slicker

Footwear
We’ll discuss foot concerns at length in another blog post. For now, it’s important that you just remember the basics to prevent you from having hurt kickers. One of the fastest ways to ruin a good trip is to develop blisters early into the trek (trust us!). You’ll add miles to your hike by bringing along good foot gear. You’ll want:
• Hiking boots or shoes (at minimum)
• Gaiters (if you expect to fish or wade through streams)
• Flipflops (in case your shoes get wet or for around the camp site)

Water
Bringing plenty of drinking water for everybody is key to happy trekkers. Even kids in carriers will need to stay hydrated. Remember, that everybody’s liquid requirements increase on hot days! Juice boxes can be a fun treat, but some hikers find them bulky and heavy to carry – your patience with carrying drinks other than water may come down to personal preference, distance, and how much other gear you have with you.

Food. So much food
Food breaks can be fun and rewarding. It isn’t uncommon for meltdowns to happen on long walks, and unhappy hikers can be distracted by cereals, crackers, dried and fresh fruit, and softer nuts like cashews that can be easily broken up. If your little one is old enough to recognize checkpoints or to understand time/distance intervals, snack breaks can be used as motivation. While we don’t advocate using food itself as a primary reward (let’s keep our relationship with food healthy!), some parents restrict certain fun foods to the trail to encourage healthier physical activity. Sugar-free gummy worms or coconut chips are a healthier alternative to higher-calorie snacks.

Tools for exploring
The types of tools that you’ll want to pack will depend on the type of topography that you’ll encounter. Is the ground sandy and soft? Maybe a bucket and shovel are your best allies. Expecting a field of flowers? Perhaps other curiosities may be found along the way. Containers for safekeeping will prevent them from being crushed and wilted in small fingers. Make sure you keep some pockets free for the extraordinary rocks that just HAVE to follow you home.

Day pack
Plan for the day ahead! It might be a good idea to pack a carrier, even if you are confident that your little one can walk the trail alone. A blanket (with plastic backing to guard against wet terrain) is nice for sitting. Does any of your food require spoons? Maybe a spray bottle to keep cool? Should you bring diapers, or perhaps tissue paper for the trail? As much as we would all prefer to wait until convenient bathrooms appear, it might be advisable to pack some toilet paper to prevent the “trail tragedies” that might come from being ill-equipped.

Weather-appropriate clothing
Hiking shoes or boots for you both are recommended and are preferable to open-toed shoes or sandals. Dressing in layers is recommended for adult hikers as well as for younger ones. Layers can come off or on as the person/environment warms and cools, and this adaptability helps with comfort and endurance. Also, long sleeves and pants can help to ward off insects without having to resort to repellents and can offer protection from the sun. Brimmed hats help to keep sun off faces and necks for both you and your little one, although we’ll forewarn you about wearing a hat with a wide brim in the back if you have a child in a back carrier – this is a fast way to a cranky passenger.

Sunscreen
We probably don’t have to tell you that it is advisable to keep babies younger than 6 months old out of the sun, or to use sunscreen (sparingly) if that is not possible. Kid-friendly sunscreens exist and are less irritating if your little one should get some in his or her eyes.

Bug repellent
Saskatchewan contains beautiful wildlife. Unfortunately, its insect life isn’t always so beautiful. Mosquitos can be unrelenting, and ticks can be unwelcome hitchhikers on little legs. The additional concern is that ticks can carry diseases. Clothing may be the best protection against bugs if they are not bad. Kid-safe repellents are always an option too, although there have been concerns with repellents with high DEET concentrations. It is important also to make sure that hands and eyes are avoided.

As a final note, we should mention that campers and overnight/thru-hikers will want to bring additional items (shelter, sleeping bags, additional food, etc.). Great lists of camping gear can be found at:

https://www.mec.ca/en/article/essential-gear-for-camping-in-the-prairie-provinces 
http://www.saskhiker.com/single-post/2015/05/13/Saskatchewan-May-Long-Camping-Packing-List
http://www.saskhiker.com/single-post/2016/07/20/What-to-pack-for-an-overnight-hike-in-Saskatchewan

Chloe Hunchak wins Trail Story Contest

Congratulations to Chloe Hunchak for winning our Trail Story Contest. She is the winner of a free STA t-shirt. Her entry can be seen below. Keep exploring trails and sharing your stories with us!

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Submitted by Chloe Hunchak
insta:@jerk_perogy

It was my idea. I basically forced them all to do it. I said, “Come on guys, don’t you want to be immersed in the beauty of Mother Nature?” They just grumbled. I exclaimed, “It’s only summer for 2 and 1/2 months here, we must go out and frolick in the forest!(!!)” They only rolled their eyes.

Finally they gave in to my ceaseless begging, and all 6 of us piled into my mom’s 97 corolla wagon. We made an unlikely but lively hiking group and set off for a trail I had chosen, proclaiming it as the easiest one in the Prince Albert National Park.

But alas, nothing done right is going to be easy.

This mish mosh group of hikers was made up of me, my mom, her boyfriend, my mom’s two friends and one of their daughters who was also my friend. We had all stayed a few days in a large, newly renovated cabin that gave us prime lakeshore access to Christopher Lake, and I thought we should at least try and act like we were in nature when really what we were doing was even more removed from nature than “glamping”- the cabin was more like a comfortable home in the suburbs-so hiking it was.

Of course we had already done all the usual lakeshore cabin activities: me and my friend had taken bikini pics for the instagram on the dock; we had drifted out on the glassy placid lake on an 8 seater floaty; we ate too much spaghetti and had a lot of day naps…the usual.

So we set off with no bugspray and one water bottle, faintly intrigued for what was to come. We were all in the car, driving up the beautiful scenic route that leads to Waskesiu, everyone chattering and me in the very back with the map yelling up to the front the directions and other info my demanding group wanted, when all of a sudden one of us let out a bloodcurdling scream. The car screeched to a stop, and we were all silent as we watched a small but husky black bear mother lope across the highway directly in front of us with her cub galloping away in front of her. We had just been reading from a pamphlet about what to do if we came across a bear, and now we were within a few meters of one. We stared wide eyed and slack jawed from the protection of the car until all that was left of the two bears was the light rustling of the leaves they had brushed past. We continued on our way, visibly shaken but also struck with awe at seeing the revered beast we had just been talking about. After a bout of silence we all thanked the driver, my mom’s boyfriend, for his quick reflexes. This was only the beginning.

We missed the turn onto the teensy trail I had suggested we take at first that led to a lookout spot and would have made our hiking time a total of 15 mins. Snap boom done. Instead, we drove up a little bit farther and parked at the next trail on the way. Our hiking time ended up being about an hour in total, which doesn’t seem so long, but us being somewhat unprepared ninnies, it took a lot more energy out of us. We screamed at small garter snakes and recoiled from the tiny leeches hidden around the rocks in the clear lake that ran beside the trail as we walked like a large encouraging symbol of the nature we hd enmeshed ourselves in. We saw many different colored mushrooms like we’d never seen before, and helped move some kind of black slug resting lavishly in the middle of our path with a long stick out of the trail’s way. We tasted wild raspberries, nature’s natural candy, and complained loudly and longly about the insane amount of mosquitoes feasting on our sweet bare skin. At one point, the path was so overgrown that we could barely see our shoes under the lush green leaves tickling our ankles as we walked. But we trugded on, sometimes gaining momemtum then having to stop and wait for the stragglers in the group. We sang a bit as we walked, weary for bears, but grew so tired from walking uphill that we would have been toast if we’d been forced to run from a bear.

Finally, after much encouragement from all of us to finish the trail and get ice cream after, and even losing one member from the group for a while- my mom’s friend was completely done with the mosquitoes and ran up ahead-we were all overjoyed to finally reach the Height-of-Land lookout tower that reaches 15 meters up into the sky from the forest.

We huffed and puffed walking up the stairs, my mom too afraid to look down because of the height. When we finally reached the top, all the previous complaining and exhaustion was forgotten as we gazed upon the expansive view of where the waters to the north flow into the Churchill River and waters to the south flow into the Saskatchewan River (I had to look that up to make sure). We had to snap some pics, and behind our big smiles there was no trace of disgruntlement, only the pride and accomplishment one feels after completing a task they thought neverending. But pictures still didn’t do this beautiful view any justice, because they can’t relay the depth of how far the land goes until the sky and the ground blend together, or the topography of the trees and valleys and tiny blue lines that make up the rivers winding through it all.

The drive out of the national park was silent, as we were well exercised, very hungry and quietly reflective of the awe inspiring adventure we’d had just 2 1/2 hours outside of our home city, Saskatoon.

And that’s the story of how this modge podge group made up and down the Shady Lake Trail in the Prince Albert National Park.

STA Photo Contest wraps up

Congratulations to Mitch Serbu for winning the STA Photo Contest. This winning shot was taken at the Beechy Sandcastles along Lake Diefenbaker.

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition. There were some great photos to choose from!

Photo 2

Toddlers on Trails – Preparation is key!

Toddler Trail

Getting out of the house can be important when you’re a new parent, and teaching toddlers about nature can protect them later in life. Exercise for you both might also be very welcome after being cooped up for the winter. However, if you’re planning on going hiking with your toddler, there are some hazards on the trail that we might be able to help you avoid! Let’s go over some trail tips and see if we can make the outing as child-friendly (and parent-friendly) as possible.

How to prepare:

1. Hit the trail solo:
Taking some time to scope out the lay of the land before hitting the trail with your little one can save you a lot of time and hassle. A vanguard solo venture will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the trail length, any hazards that might be on the way, and will give you a better idea of how to prepare for the journey ahead. Are there wasp nests or poison ivy patches to avoid? You’re on top of it! Muddy spots that require rubber boots? You’ll know. Windy cold areas that require an extra layer? No problem. You’re sure to have more fun if you know what to look out for.

2. Set realistic time goals:
Everything takes longer with children, especially young children. While you may think that you’ve budgeted enough time for you to pack, get to the hiking site, conduct your trek, and return, it is likely that you’ll need more time yet. It is advisable to plan for much more time than you require. Not only does this flexibility keep the pressure off, but it leaves room for both disasters and fun, unexpected adventures! There’s nothing to stop you from exploring that beautiful flowered glade or to look for fossils along that shale outcropping when time isn’t an issue.

3. Set realistic distance goals:
Little legs tire far more easily than bigger ones, and you might end up walking for two. Does your little one walk independently all the time? Are you planning on using a carrying pack, and how far can YOU go walking for two? Kids in carriers can sleep when they are tired, but walking tots can get tired and cranky in a flash. Picking a trail that’s appropriate for your youngest hiker can hold you back a bit but will keep everyone happier in the long run.

4. Head out early, if that’s your jam:
The combination of fresh toddlers, fresh parents, and fresh air is magical… for some people! For those people, we recommend taking advantage of the magic, and heading to the trail before the morning coolness gives way to the midday heat. You could even be home in time for lunch (and a nap for you both!). For people who (by preference or circumstance) get a later start, it is advisable to still avoid the midday sun, which can burn both you and your little one fiercely and can sap energy levels with the heat that it brings. It is important to get back before the sun sets, however, for safety reasons.

What to bring:

1. Ten essentials for survival
Most responsible hiking blogs will suggest that you pack the Ten Essentials for every trip, on the off-chance that you might get lost. This hazard is even greater if you might be distracted (TODDLERS!) due to impatience (TODDLERS!) or if you are responsible for someone else’s life (TODDLERS!). It never hurts to be prepared, even if you don’t use everything in your pack. The worst that can happen is a bit of extra fitness from lugging around a few more items.

2. Water:
Bringing plenty of drinking water for everybody is key to happy trekkers. Even kids in carriers will need to stay hydrated. Remember, that everybody’s liquid requirements increase on hot days! Juice boxes can be a fun treat, but some hikers find them bulky and heavy to carry – your patience with carrying drinks other than water may come down to personal preference, distance, and how much other gear you have with you.

3. Food. So much food:
Food breaks can be fun and rewarding. It isn’t uncommon for meltdowns to happen on long walks, and unhappy hikers can be distracted by cereals, crackers, dried and fresh fruit, and softer nuts like cashews that can be easily broken up. If your little one is old enough to recognize checkpoints or to understand time/distance intervals, snack breaks can be used as motivation. While we don’t advocate using food itself as a primary reward (let’s keep our relationship with food healthy!), some parents restrict certain fun foods to the trail to encourage healthier physical activity. Sugar-free gummy worms or coconut chips are a healthier alternative to higher-calorie snacks.

4. Tools for exploring:
The types of tools that you’ll want to pack will depend on the type of topography that you’ll encounter. Is the ground sandy and soft? Maybe a bucket and shovel are your best allies. Expecting a field of flowers? Perhaps other curiosities may be found along the way. Containers for safekeeping will prevent them from being crushed and wilted in small fingers. Make sure you keep some pockets free for the extraordinary rocks that just HAVE to follow you home.

5. Day pack:
Plan for the day ahead! It might be a good idea to pack a carrier, even if you are confident that your little one can walk the trail alone. A blanket (with plastic backing to guard against wet terrain) is nice for sitting. Does any of your food require spoons? Maybe a spray bottle to keep cool? Should you bring diapers, or perhaps tissue paper for the trail? As much as we would all prefer to wait until convenient bathrooms appear, it might be advisable to pack some toilet paper to prevent the “trail tragedies” that might come from being ill-equipped.

6. Weather-appropriate clothing:
Hiking shoes or boots for you both are recommended and are preferable to open-toed shoes or sandals. Dressing in layers is recommended for adult hikers as well as for younger ones. Layers can come off or on as the person/environment warms and cools, and this adaptability helps with comfort and endurance. Also, long sleeves and pants can help to ward off insects without having to resort to repellents and can offer protection from the sun. Brimmed hats help to keep sun off faces and necks for both you and your little one, although we’ll forewarn you about wearing a hat with a wide brim in the back if you have a child in a back carrier – this is a fast way to a cranky passenger.

7. Sunscreen:
We probably don’t have to tell you that it is advisable to keep babies younger than 6 months old out of the sun, or to use sunscreen (sparingly) if that is not possible. Kid-friendly sunscreens exist and are less irritating if your little one should get some in his or her eyes.

8. Bug repellent:
Saskatchewan contains beautiful wildlife. Unfortunately, its insect life isn’t always so beautiful. Mosquitos can be unrelenting, and ticks can be unwelcome hitchhikers on little legs. The additional concern is that ticks can carry diseases. Clothing may be the best protection against bugs if they are not bad. Kid-safe repellents are always an option too, although there have been concerns with repellents with high DEET concentrations. It is important also to make sure that hands and eyes are avoided.

What to do on the trail:

1. Stay positive:
The whole point of getting out into nature is to have fun! Praise, encouragement, and a positive attitude go a long way in keeping both of your spirits high and in making your trail hike a bonding experience. The fresh air, lovely scenery, lush flora, and sunshine are not to be taken for granted these days. This IS your chance to stop and smell the flowers!

2. Weather-watch:
In this land of living skies, the weather can turn on a dime! Checking the forecast the day before (and even the day of!) the hike can mean the difference between success and sorry. You won’t be caught unprepared if you’re forewarned, and you’ll know if you can sit and wait out this little drizzle, or if it is the signal to pack up and head back.

3. Keep your expectations in check:
How far your child can wander, curiosity, and tolerance to the elements will depend on how old they are. Your own stamina and your child’s will largely determine the rest, although there are other considerations. Are you using a carrier? Are you or your little one used to the carrier, or will the extra weight or confinement be distressing to either of you?

4. Rest often:
Breaking often might be frustrating for seasoned hikers, but it’s important to remember everyone’s limitations. It’s tempting to forge ahead but accommodating for little legs and small attention spans means that breaks to rest and refuel will be frequent. Goal-directed hiking is a good way to proceed with toddlers and encouraging them to check out the scenery ahead might be a great way to set achievable objectives before giving them a chance to rest.

5. Play games:
Educational and fun games help to pass the time and can distract cranky kids from their distress. Sit down beforehand with a book of local bugs and flora so that you can recognize them together with your tyke. Sing songs, play chase, and tell stories along the trail to keep children interested in the activity of hiking. If you encounter stairs or fenceposts, you can practice counting. Bodies of water can never have too many rocks skipped into them, or objects floated downriver.

6. Explore!
Toddlers get fidgety and cranky when they haven’t been moving around enough. If your passenger is fussing in his or her carrier, you might try letting them wander for a bit to see if that is the remedy. Letting them walk until they are tired enough to need carrying again may be the way to avoid fussiness. Kids love to collect, dig, explore, and learn in a hands-on environment. Collecting and exploring is a great way for them to connect with nature and to enjoy the sensations and smells of the trail.

We hope that this list contains some advice that will help you prep for your trail hike with your toddler and that will make it more fun for both of you. Remember, it is your job to do all the planning and to bring all the gear! Our final piece of advice is to check and double check your packing before your leave. Make a list and make sure that you remember all items. Have a great time on Saskatchewan’s trails!

Summer researcher position available

The Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) is seeking to hire an enthusiastic summer student who is passionate about the outdoors and has a strong research skillset. The successful candidate will be serving as the lead on a research project called the State of Saskatchewan Trails Report. The project will help the STA determine what the current states of trails are in the province, identify existing gaps and develop potential solutions.

Those who apply for the position should have the ability to manage a project with numerous moving parts. Duties will include developing and distributing a couple of surveys. One will be geared toward those who own, operate and maintain trails. Another will be used to obtain information from a user’s perspective to determine if our province’s trails meet current and future needs. The project will also involve conducting key informant interviews with STA key stakeholders to review their current situation and future direction. A final aspect of this research is to review how our provincial trail association compares with other provincial associations.

To be successful in this position, a number of skills are required. The candidate should be extremely well-organized. They will need to gather large quantities of data, document it appropriately and interpret this data to write a report. Strong interpersonal skills are also important, as the student will be collaborating directly and indirectly with many different recreation groups. The student should therefore have an outgoing personality and be comfortable around people. The student should also be able to communicate their findings clearly in a written document.

The STA loves working with students who are passionate about trails. In your cover letter, please talk about your love for the outdoors and the ways in which you enjoy exploring our province’s trail network. Please submit your resume to info@sasktrails.ca.

A new old trail

Trail enthusiast Russ Hodgins has made many trips to Pasqua Lake over the years, but on March 31 he discovered a new trail and a new adventure. Learn more in this guest blog post.

Maybe I don’t get out enough but there is something special about finding a trail you have never been on before and exploring new country. Last weekend, I took advantage of the fact that winter has extended into spring and headed off across the lake ice at my wife’s family cabin. The norm for this time of year would be slushy snow, mud and wet feet but the minus-18 temperature made for solid footing on top of the crusty snow. The plan was to explore along the far shoreline and turn around when I got tired. Snowmobile tracks heading off the lake were calling to me so I followed to see where it might take me and was rewarded with a trail that ran parallel to the lake, just inside the tree line. I wasn’t sure who had built it but had the feeling it may have been used at one time for trail rides with horses. After a scenic mile through the forest with beautiful lake views, I came out onto a hay field and for fun, followed the snowmobile trail along the edge of the field.

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It turned out to be a good decision as a short time later, the snowmobile tracks forked with one heading up into a side valley. This led to almost two more miles of exploration, following an old road in a side valley that climbed to the top fields. I imagined I was taking the same laboured steps as horse drawn hay wagons doing the climb in the days before motorized traffic. The trail made good use of the topography, following a route with more gentle climbs and when the valley split, the trail followed the left fork. I was high enough now to get a great all around view of the area with the beaver ponds in the bottom and the country behind me from where I started this adventure. It all has me wanting to return in the other seasons of the year for a different perspective.

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This was on the return trip. Just as nice a view with the bonus of being gravity assisted!

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AGM held over the weekend

Trail builders, administrators and enthusiasts braved the snow-covered streets and made their way to our AGM on Saturday, March 24 in Regina.

Some great conversations took place about issues affecting the trail and outdoor recreation community.

Following the AGM, the new STA executive team is:

President – Saul Lipton
Vice President – David Powell
Treasurer – Sharon Elder
Secretary – Ryan Goolevitch

Newly elected board members include:

Russ Hodgins
Paul Cutting
Trish German

Returning board members include:

Alan Otterbein
John Meed
Curt Schroeder
Pat Rediger (Administrator, Ex-Officio Member
Joe Milligan (Ex-Officio Member)
Andrew Exelby (Ex-Officio Member)

The STA would like to express its gratitude to the following board members who are stepping down:

Margaret Moran
Dean Cattel
Natalie Letts

Thanks for your dedication to improving Saskatchewan’s trail system.

If you didn’t attend the AGM, check out our 2017 STA Annual Report to get up-to-date on our activities over the past year and our goals for the future.

During our AGM, attendees were treated to three diverse presentations, covering everything from trail building to planning family adventures.

Let’s Build a Trail – Joe Milligan, Recreation/Interpretive Specialist, Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport

JoeJoe said that trails are more about building an experience than creating a straight line from point A to B. He discussed the guiding principles that the Ministry reviews when making trail decisions in provincial parks. There are numerous elements the Ministry considers in developing a positive experience for users such as design, environment and safety. When planning and building trails the Ministry has several considerations but the main concern is that they want to give life to that piece of land. He noted there are various building manuals available and the Ministry has a list of criteria it uses before hiring contractors such as the type of equipment they use, the resumes of people involved, etc. Signage is important especially at the trailheads before people begin their treks. Once trails are created it is important to control weeds. Other issues that can emerge are keeping dogs under control while other users are on the trail; keeping cattle off the trail as they can do considerable damage to surface; ensuring proper sized culverts have been used, and water management. Once the trail is completed you need to make sure your trail is special and consider how it is marketed. You may want to consider races and special events to encourage people to use the trail. The Maah Daah Hey trail in North Dakota is a good example of how a trail can be marketed.

Trail Outings: Fun for the Whole Family – Paul Cutting, Travel Blogger http://www.cuttingintoadventure.com

Paul and his wife CaPaulmbri have been avid hikers for many years and operate the blog cuttingintodadventure, which documents many of their trail experiences. When they had a baby they needed to change the way they approached hikes and he shared his insights. Hikes now require much more planning and more supplies are required, but there are still opportunities to have outstanding hikes. He suggested that you pack more water, diaper change pad, diapers, treats, change of clothes, potty and hand sanitizer. He also purchased new gear such as a backpack carrier and chariot. Hikes should be planned with the child’s schedule in mind – if he or she takes afternoon naps, then plan your excursion for the morning. Usually 1.5 to 2 km long hikes are good for kids. Sometimes adding games like hide and seek make it more enjoyable for kids. Taking hikes with toddlers is important because it promotes an active physical lifestyle to kids and can lead to life-long memories.

Fat Tire Trails – Jeff Hehn, Fatlanders Fat Tire Brigade

JeffJeff made a presentation on the fat tire trails they are developing in Saskatoon (the group received a $1,000 grant from STA to assist this project). Their trail project is called St. Barbe (formerly Man of the Trees). Jeff noted that the popularity of fat tire bikes has been on the increase and there are more groomed trails available nation-wide. This is the first groomed fat bike trail in Saskatchewan. The Fatlanders started in 2014 with 50 members and has now increased to 75 members. They offer a variety of club rides to encourage people to try fat bikes. The club has been working with the city and Meewasin Valley Authority on the fat bike trail and has created several km of trail this year. The club uses Trail Forks as a mapping tool for their trail.

STA 2017 Annual Report Now Available

The STA has released its 2017 Annual Report. Click here to view it.

It was a busy year for the STA. We increased the level of funding through our Members Grant program, created a new on-line trail directory so trail enthusiasts could research trails in their area, introduced a new Trail Ambassador program to recognize people who have shared their trail experiences and we created our first-ever trail photo contest. The STA provided educational sessions for members and the general public on trail insurance and openstreet mapping.

2017 STA Annual Report

STA Releases AGM Agenda

The STA has finalized the presenters and agenda for its 2018 AGM, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the George Bothwell Library in the Southland Mall in Regina (2965 Gordon Rd). Check out the posters below or click here to view a PDF.

STA Flyer 1-1 STA Flyer 2-1

STA announces recipients of Member Grant funding

STA logo high res cmykThe Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) is pleased to announce that the Fatlanders Fat Tire Brigade, Timber Trail Sno Riders Snowmobile Club and Whiteswan Snow Hawks Snowmobile Club are the latest recipients of funding through the STA Member Grant program.

Through the program, grants of up to $1,000 for building new trails or undergoing maintenance projects such as updating maps, fixing signs, purchasing maintenance tools or adding GPS capabilities are available to STA members through an application process. The grants are reviewed by a volunteer committee.

“We are pleased to fund these worthy projects that will help to strengthen the trail network in Saskatchewan,” said STA President Saul Lipton. “This year’s funding will assist with new trails being built and existing trails undergoing much-needed renovation, while also help with the development of a new winter sport that’s generating widespread interest in our province.”

Fatlanders Fat Tire Brigade is receiving $1,000 to support their Winter Fat Bike Groomed Trail Network. Fat bikes are off-road bicycles with oversized tires that are designed for low ground pressure to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain such as snow, sand, bogs and mud. The group has been working with the City of Saskatoon and the Meewasin Valley Authority to establish a winter fat bike specific groomed trail network “Man of the Trees Winter Trail Network” in an abandoned tree farm at the edge of the city limits.

The STA is giving Timber Trail Sno Riders Snowmobile Club $500 toward the upkeep of their trail in Big River. Whiteswan Snow Hawks Snowmobile Club is also receiving $500. The group is looking to build a trail to be used by ATVs and snowmobiles running from East Trout Lake to Little Bear Lake. STA Member Grants are handed out annually.

The next application deadline is Dec. 31, 2018. Further information on STA funding programs is available at http://sasktrails.ca/trail-builders/#funding.