Saskatchewan achieves connection of The Great Trail

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For Saskatchewan trail enthusiasts, it’s a great time to celebrate.

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.

Saskatchewan is now Canada’s fourth province or territory to reach  this milestone, after Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island and Yukon.

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, click here.

September Trail of the Month – Buffalo Pound Provincial Park 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.

Buffalo Pound Provincial Park pays tribute to its past use as a hunting ground by maintaining a herd of plains bison in a hillside paddock.  Today, the focus of this park, located 20 minutes northeast of Moose Jaw, is a memorable getaway for fun-seekers and nature lovers alike.

The park provides hikers with the opportunity to explore interpretive trails that stretch through the rich natural heritage of Nicolle Flats Interpretive Area, filled with marshes, grasslands, rivers and woodlands that mingle together to provide shelter and homes for a variety of wildlife.

Your hiking journey could lead you to the:

Nicolle Flats Marsh Boardwalk Interpretive Trail: This short route of 0.5 kilometres takesGraph you into the heart of a remarkable landscape and is a magnet for wildlife, such as shy sora rails, yellow-headed blackbirds, American bitterns, western plains garter snakes, pintail ducks, canvasback ducks, shoveler ducks, coots, grebes, water tigers, dragonfly nymphs, water boatmen and caddisfly larva. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk tell the story of the marsh world.

Nicolle Flats Trail: This 3 km trail connects the marsh area with the Nicolle Homestead. It’s an easy, pleasant walk through prairie grasslands and wooded coulees. The reward at the end of the trail is a shady maple grove oasis where you can rest.

Bison View Interpretive Trail: A walk along this 2.9 km trail provides opportunities to view the captive herd of bison against a backdrop of prairie sky and grasses and to remember the bison as they once were.  Views of the bison paddock and marsh area along the trail are spectacular and are sure to inspire further exploration of the area.

Dyke Trail: The 8 km trail takes you completely around the marsh. The dyke and other water control structures make the marsh a productive wetland for waterfowl and other wildlife. Bicycles are allowed on this portion of the Nicolle Flats trail system as it is part of the Trans Canada Trail.

The Valley Trail: Located on the east side of the interpretive area, the 1.5 km trail takes you into one of the richest parts of the valley – the junction of Moose Jaw and Qu’Appelle Rivers. The trail follows the high banks of Moose Jaw River to its junction with the Qu’Appelle River and returns via the dyke along the edge of Nicolle Flats Marsh. In the woodlands that grow on the floodplains of these two waterways, there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Mountain Biking Trail: More than 30 km of maintained mountain bike trails are located in the park near the former Whitetrack ski resort. Well-marked trails follow the natural contours of the valley and range from gently rolling scenic rides for the whole family to technical trails with challenging climbs and descents for the serious enthusiast. Thanks to National Trails Coalition funding, a recent project was undertaken by several groups including the Saskatchewan Cycling Association to improve the trails. A sustainable trail assessments was completed by Sustainable Trails, focusing on problem areas such as tread cupping, erosion, inappropriate trail location/design and drainage. The group then constructed seven wood bridges and rerouted of 1,197.3 meters of trail.

Winter Trails: Buffalo Pound has 7 km of ungroomed cross-country ski trails starting from the Lower Chalet area.

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Nature Grandparenting

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This fall, SaskOutdoors is offering a unique intergenerational nature program in Saskatoon. The Nature Grandparenting program is designed for grandparents to experience nature with their grandchild (three- to five-years old) in Saskatoon’s Gabriel Dumont Park.

The event is being held on Wednesday mornings between Sept. 21 to Oct. 26, with two start times: 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Many grandparents are in a unique position to act as a nature mentor in the lives of their grandchildren. With practical ideas and age-appropriate activities shared each week, grandparents will have fun weaving a connection to nature into the special relationship they have with their grandchild. This program will be facilitated by Jana Miller, former Ecoquest teacher.

This program takes place outdoors. Participants will need to dress for the weather and should be comfortable being active outdoors for an hour. Public washrooms are available on site for use. An information package will be sent out to registered participants in early September.

The event costs $95.00/pair for six six weeks ($16.00/week). The registration deadline is Sept. 14. Those who sign up are asked to review SaskOutdoors’ cancellation policy.

For more information, email info@saskoutdoors.org.

Helping to get girls and women ‘On the Move’

Check out the newly released On the Move handbook a valuable resource for individuals and organizations concerned with increasing girls’ and young women’s participation or with gender equity.

In the On the Move Handbook you will find:

  • Success stories from across the country;
  • Discussion about the social barriers girls and young women face in their participation“Stats & Facts” about the importance of sport and physical activity to the health and well-being of girls and young women;
  • Programming tips and suggestions based on 10 years of On the Move experience; and
  • Lists of supportive On the Move Network contacts, organizations, resources, and research.

Check out the On the Move Handbook

On the Move is a national initiative of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity designed to increase the opportunities for inactive girls and young women (ages 9-18) to participate and lead in sport and physical activity.

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Volunteers needed for flowering rush removal, Aug. 15-17

The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan (NPSS) is looking for a lot of volunteers from Aug. 15-17 to help it pull flowering rush from the only known wetland in Saskatchewan near Watrous, in the hope of eradicating it and saving Saskatchewan from yet another invasive species.

The work will begin at 10 a.m. each day and volunteers will meet at the intersection of AC Leslie road (watch for small green sign on the roadside) and Highway 2. The intersection is roughly halfway between Young and Watrous. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a hat, rubber boots or waders, water, sunscreen and a lunch and snacks.

If you’re interested, please email Chet at info@npss.sk.ca to register. Danielle Levesque will be the on-site NPSS contact and can be reached at (306) 717-5443.

Elbow Trail construction underway

IMG_1440Construction of the recreational trail system for the Village of Elbow and the Elbow Harbour Recreation Site is underway.

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.

Thanks to STA Board Member Natalie Letts for the photo!

August Trail of the Month – Moose Mountain ATV trail

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

ATV enthusiasts in Saskatchewan now have the opportunity to take a scenic journey in the beautiful Moose Mountain Provincial Park. On July 15, 2016, the Ministry of Parks, Culture nd Sport officially opened the Moose Mountain ATV trail.

Located in the back country of Moose Mountain, the ATV trail makes use of some of the snowmobile trails. Moose Untitled2=3Mountain is an island of birch and aspen nestled in the southeast corner of the province, and ATVers will have the opportunity to pass through beautiful stands of aspen, birch, green ash and Manitoba Maple trees that characterize this unique southern Saskatchewan forest. There are plenty of scenic viewpoints and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Park officials worked closely with the Saskatchewan All-Terrain Vehicle Association to develop the ATV trail. The Government of Saskatchewan contributed $125,000 to the project, which was matched by the National Trails Coalition for a total investment of $250,000.

ATV enthusiasts are welcome to enjoy the designated trails from June 15 to the end of Labor Day weekend, weather permitting. It’s a great way for the entire family to share an outdoor experience. Trails will be closed when raining or following a substantial rainfall in order to minimize ecological damage. Park updates can be found at http://www.saskparks.net.

Anyone who plans to make use of the ATV trails at Moose Mountain needs to stop by the park office before heading to the trails.  At the park office, riders can pick up their no-charge permit and information package, which includes a map of the trails and details on rider responsibilities. All ATV riders must trailer their unit to the trailhead and unload it there.

ATVers must follow the proper safety practices before off-roading, such as: becoming properly educated, selecting an age-appropriate vehicle, wearing the proper safety gear and driving safely.

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Level 10 Fitness supports the STA

tinthumbFor a few weeks starting Aug. 2, Level 10 Fitness in Regina will be accepting donations on behalf of the STA. Stop in at 2124 Grant Rd. for a great workout and contribute to the donation container.

Thanks to Level 10 Fitness for supporting our province’s trails!

If you’d like to help, visit our Get Involved webpage.