SaskHiker: 5 Reasons Why Saskatchewan Winter’s Don’t Suck

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Jay Brown, the SaskHiker, is an avid outdoorsmen and hiker from Saskatchewan who is continually looking for the next adventure. He runs the website www.saskhiker.com, which he encourages people to use as a guide to their own adventures.

Well folks, we got hammered with an early taste of winter. With a 100 year snowfall record being broken in the past 24 hours, we are all participating in the same old conversation whenever winter decides to blast us with a taste of cold, “Why do we live here?”

I know we all love sitting on a beach basking in the warmth of the sun, but in my opinion you wouldn’t appreciate it as much if you didn’t have to spend 6 months enduring winter. To me the best part of living in Saskatchewan is the fact that we get the full experience of all the 4 seasons. We are living in a postcard world it is just that some days it is tough to see it!

So while you are grumbling at work and trying to find your winter jackets and gloves, I thought I would remind you of 5 reasons why Saskatchewan winter’s don’t suck.

Click here to visit the SaskHiker’s blog and read the entire post

Join the STA at the Saskatchewan Trail Mix

The STA will be hosting the Saskatchewan Trail Mix on October 27, 2016 from 9:00-11:30 a.m. at the Delta Hotel in Regina. The Saskatchewan Trail Mix is an opportunity for trail builders, users, and enthusiasts to meet and discuss common issues, review community needs, develop best practices, and develop new collaborations.

The agenda for the meeting includes:

• Welcome and Introductions – Saul Lipton, President, Saskatchewan Trails Association
• Overview of STA – Pat Rediger, Administrator, Saskatchewan Trails Association
• Roundtable Discussions – Each member to discuss issues that most concern their organization
• Themed Discussions – Place discussed items into various themes for further discussion, either as a group or individual discussion groups
• Possible Solutions – Identify possible solutions to the issues that have been identified
• Closing Comments – Saul Lipton

The Trail Mix allows the trail community to come together, learn from each other and work collectively on solutions that benefit everyone.

This meeting is open to everyone. If you plan on attending, please contact the STA at info@sasktrails.ca to register.

Saskatchewan’s section of The Great Trail now connected

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Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is thrilled to announce that Saskatchewan’s section of The Great Trail is now connected, province-wide, making it Canada’s fourth province or territory – after Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Yukon – to reach this milestone. This achievement was marked at a public celebration (in collaboration with Wakamow Valley Authority) on Oct. 1 in Moose Jaw, in conjunction with the unveiling of the new Wakamow Valley Suspension Bridge, part of The Great Trail.

“The Great Trail has become a living symbol of national collaboration, as we work with partners,  volunteers, donors and all levels of government to connect the Trail country-wide for Canada 150 celebrations in 2017. With Saskatchewan’s section now connected, we are much closer to making this bold dream – launched in 1992 to celebrate Canada’s 125th – a reality,” said Deborah Apps, TCT president & CEO. “Saskatchewan can be proud of being the fourth province or territory in Canada to connect their section of the Trail, and we could not have done it without that truly Canadian spirit of helping each other and working together.”

TCT partners, volunteers, donors and government supporters were in attendance, including Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Regina-Wascana). Representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces were also present, including reservists from 38 Combat Engineer Regiment, 38 Canadian Brigade Group, based out of Saskatoon and Winnipeg, responsible for the construction of the Wakamow Valley Suspension Bridge, funded by Trans Canada Trail, the City of Moose Jaw and the Wakamow Valley Development Fund. The bridge was a key component in fully connecting The Great Trail in the province of Saskatchewan.

“Since 2009, it has been Wakamow Valley’s dream to build this style of bridge over the Moose Jaw River and connect the trails on either side,” said Paul Spriggs, Chair of Wakamow Valley Authority. “We couldn’t have achieved this without our donors, the Wakamow Valley Advisory Committee, TCT, Canadian Armed Forces 38 Combat Engineer Regiment, the City of Moose Jaw and the many people who attended our fundraising events.”

“The Great Trail will unite us from coast to coast to coast as a sustainable national treasure, one that helps to create economic drivers for tourism, and healthier, more active communities,” said the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “Today’s milestone celebration in Saskatchewan is an important step toward the Trail achieving full connection for Canada 150 celebrations in 2017, and a wonderful example of community collaboration.”

TCT is supported by financial contributions from donors in both the public and private sectors, who believe in TCT’s commitment to investing in vital infrastructure for safe, affordable outdoor activity, and fostering an appreciation for Canada’s spectacular natural heritage. The following TCT donors played an integral role in connecting Saskatchewan’s section of The Great Trail:

PotashCorp
RBC Foundation
R. Howard Webster Foundation
SaskTel
Berkshire Hathaway Energy Canada
Information Services Corporation
Bill Shurniak
Jack Cockwell, in honour of Daphne Cockwell

All gifts to TCT are matched by the Government of Canada, as part of a funding program to support TCT’s 2017 national connection goal.  This program has the Federal Government contributing one dollar for every two raised, up to $25 million. This support allows for Trail development across the country, benefitting Canadians and strengthening communities.

Every Canadian province and territory is home to its own section of The Great Trail, which is owned and operated at the local level. Formed in 2014, the Saskatchewan Vision 2017 Trans Canada Trail Committee is comprised of dedicated volunteers from across Saskatchewan, with representation from provincial and municipal governments, Indigenous peoples and user groups. The Committee has been the driving force in connecting The Great Trail across the province.

Now connected, The Great Trail route in Saskatchewan spans nearly 1,700 kilometres from the Alberta to the Manitoba border. From prairie to pine, and waterway to greenway, Trail users can experience rural and urban municipalities, ferry crossings and several of Saskatchewan’s provincial parks.

The Great Trail currently spans over 20,000 kilometres across the country and, nationally, is 87% connected. TCT’s goal is to connect the entire network, nearly 24,000 kilometres, in 2017. But connection is only the beginning: TCT will continue to encourage Canadians and visitors to discover, experience and cherish the Trail by supporting improvements and by sustaining its integrity for future generations.

For more information, visit https://thegreattrail.ca.

October Trail of the Month: Wakamow Valley trails

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Each month from May to October, the STA is promoting a trail in a different part of the province to encourage people to explore nature and be physically active.

For trail enthusiasts, there are plenty of reasons to flock to Wakamow Valley at the heart of the Moose Jaw River. The area is home to 190 bird species, and as you make your way through the Wakamow Valley trail system – featuring nearly 15 kilometres of trails – there are prime opportunities for bird watching.tag

In fact, if you visit the Wakamow Valley Authority office (276 Home St. E), you can even borrow a bird kit, including: binoculars, a bird book, a check-list of birds and bird seed.

Beyond bird watching, Wakamow Valley Trails are also designed for walking, cycling, in-line skating and water activities such as canoeing and kayaking.

Trail users will appreciate the vast amount of amenities located within the valley, including washrooms, picnic benches, BBQ pits, a playground, concession, gazebos, canoe and kayak rentals, a boat launch, pedestrian bridges, parks and plenty of free parking.

There’s plenty of great tourist destinations within the trail system:

  • Plaxton’s Lake: Picnic and water activities. Complete with sun shelter and boardwalk;
  • Lions River Park: Picnic tables and barbecues;
  • Kiwanis River Park: Picnic tables, fire pit, canoe launch and the outdoor Speed Skating Oval;
  • Rotary River Park: The Burger Cabin, McCaig Gardens, accessible playground and sun shelter;
  • Kinsmen Wellesley Park: Accessible playground, sun shelter, picnic tables and barbecues;
  • Connor Park: Barbecues, canoe launch, fire pit, picnic tables, pavilion, and playground;
  • Devonian Trail: A 4.2 km pedestrian and cycling asphalt pathway from near Union Hospital, through Plaxton’s Lake, Lions River Park and Rotary River Park to Kinsmen Wellesley Park.
  • River Park Campground: Campsites, canoe launch.

Agenda: The Great Trail connection celebration

On October 1, 1-3 p.m., at the NEW Wakamow Valley Suspension Bridge in Moose Jaw, Trans Canada Trail (TCT) — in collaboration with Wakamow Valley Authority — will officially announce that Saskatchewan’s section of The Great Trail is now connected, province-wide.

This event will also feature the unveiling of the new Wakamow Valley Suspension Bridge, part of The Great Trail.

This celebration will be attended by TCT partners, volunteers, donors, and government supporters including the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

AGENDA

1-1:30 p.m.: Speeches and unveiling of new Wakamow Suspension Bridge, constructed by Canadian Army Reservists from 38 Combat Engineer Regiment (38 CER), 38 Canadian Brigade Group (38 CBG).

1:30 p.m.: Performances by Black Cloud, a family Drum Group from Muscowpetung First Nation, and World Renowned Hoop Dancer Terrence Littletent from Kawacatoose Cree Nation, accompanied by his nephew Steve Obey Jr., from Piapot First Nation.

1:40 p .m.: Military fly-by

2-3:00 p.m.: Family fun activities including a guided Trail walk

The idea of creating a trail that would be a gift from Canadians to Canadians began as a bold dream in 1992. Since then, TCT – a not-for-profit organization – has been working with donors, partners, governments and volunteers to create an epic trail of trails offering a wide range of outdoor experiences on both land and water routes. Every Canadian province and territory is home to its own stretch of The Great Trail, which is owned and operated at the local level. TCT’s goal is to have The Great Trail connected from coast to coast to coast in 2017, for Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation celebrations.

For more information, visit https://thegreattrail.ca.

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The Great Trail finds a great home in North Qu’Appelle

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In August, Saskatchewan achieved connection of The Great Trail, province-wide. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways across Canada. In celebration, the Trans Canada Trail staff has released a series of articles highlighting different stops along the way.

Previous articles: 5 Must-See Sections of The Great Trail in Saskatchewan; Creating trail tourism in rural Saskatchewan; Prairie Hospitality on the Trail

Hiking through a grove of birch trees in North Qu’Appelle, Marcy Johnson emerged to find herself in a field of purple crocuses — all just steps from another spectacular view.

“Out of nowhere, there’s Sacred Heart Church, a fieldstone church with a belfry tower from the early 1900s, and another red-roofed chapel with 14 stations of the cross,” says Marcy, the administrator for the rural municipality (RM) of North Qu’Appelle, just 70 kilometres northeast of Regina. “It’s a special moment, to come across it like that. You feel the history of the early settlers. You appreciate the architecture. It’s really quite contemplative.”

The Qu’Appelle Valley is nestled between four lakes. It’s home to four First Nations, 2000 residents, meandering waterways, open marshes, and rolling grasslands populated with Saskatoon berry bushes, foxes and coyotes.

There are also 30 kilometres of The Great Trail in the region, and work is underway on a new 10-km section to join the village of Lebret to Fort Qu’Appelle. Part of the new section of the Trail will include a waterway connecting Lebret to Sandy Beach.

Right now, a tractor is dragging a grader along the new land portion of the Trail, grooming it for year-round usage. The RM of North Qu’Appelle matched a donation from Trans Canada Trail, bringing the budget for this project to $22,000 to pay staff and the contractor.

“We’re grooming a hilly section along Mission Lake to encourage hiking, cycling, running and walking—no quads allowed. That’s just our culture,” says Marcy.

The Trail makes its way into Qu’Appelle Valley south of Melville near Crooked Lake, after which it continues west along the historic Fort Ellis Trail, into Fort Qu’Appelle and onto the Qu’Appelle Valley Waterway.

While work advances on the new 10 kilometres, citizens and fitness buffs are making use of the other local Trail sections, including the 6.9-km path around the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, past the museum and the historic Treaty Four Governance Centre. Then there’s the Katepwa Lake Trail, a more secluded track further off the highway.

The Great Trail in Qu’Appelle Valley is an important addition to the region’s recreational infrastructure, and it makes for a great tourist attraction, all thanks to the collaboration of the rural municipalities of McLeod, Elcapo, Wolseley, Abernethy and North Qu’Appelle.

“Everyone knows the Trail,” says Marcy. “It’s popular with couples and families, as well as groups of retired teachers and ladies who walk every day.”

Having lived in the area for 22 years, Marcy is happy to see The Great Trail thriving in North Qu’Appelle.

“It’s about more than going somewhere to pick Saskatoon berries at the end of June, although that’s fun,” she notes. “It’s about building community year-round.”

Saskatchewan’s connection milestone will be celebrated on Oct. 1, 1- 3 p.m. at the Wakamov Bridge in Wakamow Valley (Home St E, Moose Jaw) in an event featuring food and fun for the whole family. For more information on The Great Trail, visit www.thegreattrail.ca.

Prairie Hospitality on the Trail

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Left to right: Ann Burton, Cathy Watts and Cindi Peterson/Trent Watts

In August, Saskatchewan achieved connection of The Great Trail, province-wide. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways across Canada. In celebration, the Trans Canada Trail staff has released a series of articles highlighting different stops along the way.

Previous articles: 5 Must-See Sections of The Great Trail in Saskatchewan; Creating trail tourism in rural Saskatchewan

In mid-July 2015, ten seniors started out on a five-day cycling adventure on The Great Trail in Saskatchewan. Starting in Saskatoon, they cycled close to 300 kilometres through Hague, Batoche, Duck Lake and Blaine Lake, before heading back home via Borden.

It was quite the adventure, says trip organizer Cathy Watts. The Trail experienced by the group was quite challenging, as it was almost entirely on gravel roads with little to no nearby amenities for the long-distance cyclist (food, shelter, water!), but, as Watts says, “The Trail has a unique way of bringing Canadians in touch with one another.”

Case in point, in planning the trip, Watts was unable to find accommodations for the first night’s stop in the Town of Hague. Looking for more information, Watts visited the Town Hall, and on a whim, asked if anyone would be interested in putting up a group of seniors for a night’s stop during their cycling trip. After a few phone calls and emails with Town representatives and even the mayor of Hague, some enthusiastic volunteers opened their homes for the seniors’ cycling group, providing them with home-cooked meals, hot showers, warm beds and some new friends.

And the hospitality didn’t end in Hague. The next four days included an evening at the Back to Batoche festival, the Métis Nation’s annual commemoration event of their culture, traditions and heritage. It is a family event where the Métis memorialize and pay homage to national heroes such as Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont and many others. The seniors cycling group got the chance to experience the songs, dances and stories of the Métis Nation in Batoche.

In five short days, the group of cyclists enjoyed some of the best of what Saskatchewan has to offer via The Great Trail; stunning rivers, magnificent vistas of prairie sky, lush countryside, and the warmth and generosity of the people of Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan’s connection milestone will be celebrated on Oct. 1, 1- 3 p.m. at the Wakamov Bridge in Wakamow Valley (Home St E, Moose Jaw) in an event featuring food and fun for the whole family. For more information on The Great Trail, visit www.thegreattrail.ca.

Creating trail tourism in rural Saskatchewan

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In August, Saskatchewan achieved connection of The Great Trail, province-wide. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways across Canada. In celebration, the Trans Canada Trail staff has released a series of articles highlighting different stops along the way.

Previous articles: 5 Must-See Sections of The Great Trail in Saskatchewan

The Great Trail of Canada is the longest and grandest recreational multi-use trail in the world. And if you live in rural Saskatchewan, there’s a good chance it might just be in your municipality.

The Great Trail currently spans over 20,000 kilometres of urban, rural and wilderness trails across land and water. Every province and territory is home to its very own section of the Trail.

In Saskatchewan, the Trail currently spans just over 1,600 kilometres, and features beautiful panoramas, pedestrian bridges that are world-renowned feats of engineering, breathtaking lookouts and meandering waterways. Saskatchewan’s section of The Great Trail provides users with opportunities to behold a vast array of flora and fauna that flies in the face of any preconception one might have had about what one would expect to find in Saskatchewan.

What’s more, the majority of the Trail’s provincial route runs through rural municipalities.

Trans Canada Trail (TCT) has been working with rural municipalities across Saskatchewan to help build its tourism infrastructure, researching and adapting Trail routes to highlight points of interest and to link some of the province’s most meaningful cultural and historical sites.

TCT rerouted through the rural municipality of Douglas in order to pass by Crooked Bush Grove, offering Trail users a mystical touch to a day-hike, into a maze of majestically twisted aspen trees, a medieval atmosphere like something out of a fairy tale.

Near the village of Marcelin, TCT worked with the Green Leaf Hutterite Colony, which now allows Trail users onto their private land to witness their way of life as part of the local trail experience.

This past March, TCT President & CEO Deborah Apps spoke at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) convention, publicly thanking Saskatchewan’s rural municipalities for working with TCT to develop the Trail through their boundaries. The groundswell of support from RMs has created vital infrastructure that will benefit Saskatchewan for generations to come.

“The Great Trail in Saskatchewan gets people out of the cities, back to the land and to their roots as Canadians,” says TCT’s Trail Development Manager Kristen Gabora, who lives in Canora. “This Trail system celebrates our beautiful rural landscapes, inviting people into nature, the woods, and back to the dirt.”

Aside from providing residents and visitors alike with exciting options for affordable outdoor recreation, The Great Trail in Saskatchewan is helping to build a trail culture.

“The work TCT is doing with the local municipalities in Saskatchewan to develop Trail is simultaneously creating a kind of Trail culture, where public support is rallied around the notion that trails have amazing benefits for communities,” says Sinclair Harrison, Chairperson of TCT’s Saskatchewan Vision 2017 Trail Committee. “Trails get people active and involved in nature, and they celebrate the history and cultures of communities. And with The Great Trail, there’s the sense that we’re all connected to something really grand that will endure for generations to come.”

Saskatchewan’s connection milestone will be celebrated on Oct. 1, 1- 3 p.m. at the Wakamov Bridge in Wakamow Valley (Home St E, Moose Jaw) in an event featuring food and fun for the whole family. For more information on The Great Trail, visit www.thegreattrail.ca.

5 Must-See Sections of The Great Trail in Saskatchewan

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In August, Saskatchewan achieved connection of The Great Trail, province-wide. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways across Canada. In celebration, the Trans Canada Trail staff has released a series of articles highlighting different stops along the way.

From beautiful scenery to rare wildlife to historical landmarks, there’s no limit to what you can encounter on The Great Trail in Saskatchewan. Here are five spots you can’t miss:

Regina to Lumsden

If you’re up for a great day-hike, try walking the Trail from Regina to Lumsden, which lets you leave the city behind, taking you along the Saw-Whet and Wascana trails. On your way, you’ll likely see a variety of wildlife and beautiful open fields and rolling hills.

Louis Riel Trail

If you enjoy cycling, try this scenic, bicycle-friendly section of the Trail that follows the route travelled by Métis leader Louis Riel. From Saskatoon, this Trail section leads cyclists to the National Historic Site (NHS) at Batoche, Riel’s headquarters and the site of the last battle of the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Along the way, it connects to a second NHS, commemorating Seager Wheeler, “the Wheat Wizard of Rosthern.”

Qu’Appelle Valley

The Trail makes its way into Qu’Appelle Valley south of Melville near Crooked Lake, after which it continues west along the historic Fort Ellis Trail, into Fort Qu’Appelle and onto the Qu’Appelle Valley Waterway. This section of the Trail is brimming with picturesque countryside, rolling grasslands and open marshes and makes for an ideal getaway hike, reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Great Trail in Qu’Appelle Valley is an important addition to the region’s recreational infrastructure and makes for a great tourist attraction, all thanks to the collaboration of the rural municipalities of McLeod, Elcapo, Wolseley, Abernethy and North Qu’Appelle.

Fort Pitt Trail

This section of the Trail is adjacent to Fort Pitt, and passes many historic sites along the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River. Established in 1829 to act as a halfway point between Fort Carlton and Fort Edmonton, Fort Pitt played important roles in the fur trade, the signing of Treaty Six and in the North-West Rebellion of 1885. This section of Trail is ideal for cyclists and Canadian history aficionados.

Elbow Trail

The late Canadian author Farley Mowat once described the village of Elbow, Saskatchewan, as “a typical prairie village with an unpaved main street as wide as the average Ontario farm.” The main street has since been paved, and just beyond the village, nestled in the lush green fields of southwestern Saskatchewan, the Elbow View Trail stretches north along Lake Diefenbaker — named after John G. Diefenbaker, the 13th Prime Minister of Canada — and ends in Danielson Provincial Park. Elbow’s name was derived from the bend in the South Saskatchewan River, where the village was built. This section of the Trail is roughly 30 kilometres long, with a gravel surface ideal for walking or hiking, cycling, and horseback riding, as well as cross-country skiing in the winter.

Saskatchewan’s connection milestone will be celebrated on Oct. 1, 1- 3 p.m. at the Wakamov Bridge in Wakamow Valley (Home St E, Moose Jaw) in an event featuring food and fun for the whole family. For more information on The Great Trail, visit www.thegreattrail.ca.

Help support the Elbow Trail

Work is progressing on the Elbow recreational trail system. You can help ensure the successBFF48874-9C7F-409E-A689-C7FB87826185 of this project by making a donation.

This proposed trail system will provide the people of Elbow and its surrounding communities, as well as visitors to Lake Diefenbaker, with an excellent natural surface, environmentally-friendly trail system that is safe for beginner and intermediate hikers, cyclists, cross-country skiers and snowshoe trail users.

This trail will also provide a valuable link to the Trans Canada Trail (TCT), providing additional kilometers of scenic trails for TCT users to enjoy year round, bringing the TCT closer to achieving its goal of completing Saskatchewan’s portion of the trail system by 2017.

Click here to donate.

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