Discovering McKell Wascana Conservation Park

By Melissa Burdon

IMG_5462

McKell Wascana Conservation Park

Located in the east end of Regina, McKell Wascana Conservation Park is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening. Its interpretive signage and abundance of wildlife makes it a great place for kids, while the beauty and serenity also makes it great for a peaceful sunset walk. To get there, drive south along Prince of Whales to Wascana Gate South. You will then turn east and drive along Wascana Circle Drive and past Wascana Creek Park. Once you see the Shumiatcher Amphitheatre, you know you are at the right place!

IMG_5455

View from the other beautiful trail: Wascana Creek Park

After I wandered around the Wascana Creek Park for about an hour contemplating whether or not it was the conservation area, I finally found McKell Wascana Conservation Park. I have to say though, getting confused about which beautiful trail is the specific beautiful trail you are looking for, isn’t a bad problem to have!

As the Ducks Unlimited Canada website boasts, McKell Wascana Conservation Park is a 171-acre park “dedicated to conserving and restoring native prairie and wetland habitat”. It was made possible by partnerships and contributions of the City of Regina, Ducks Unlimited Canada and especially, the McKell family.

As I first approached McKell Wascana Conservation Park, the first thing I noticed was the Shumiatcher Amphitheatre, which is great for educational programming and performances. It has a ramp for accessibility and the back has plaques that are worth taking a look at as they have some additional information about the many people and organizations that collaborated to create the park. I was overwhelmed with the generosity and obvious love for nature that had gone into creating this amazing trail. So, I decided to look into those names on the plaques a little further.

Let’s start with the Shumiatcher Amphitheatre which was funded by the Shumiatcher family. Dr. Morris and Jaqueline Shumiatcher were heavily invested in the arts community in Regina and have helped either financially or with their time, with almost every aspect of the arts in this city.

On the City of Regina website, there is great information on Jaqueline Shumiatcher, who is a powerful and inspirational woman. She immigrated here in 1923 and worked as a teacher. She later went on to create her own businesses and volunteer for several community organizations including Regina Council of Women, Women’s Business and Professional Association, Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts and Dominion Drama Festival. The Shumiatchers also funded the Shumiatcher Sandbox series at the Globe Theatre, the Shumiatcher Sculpture Gallery at the McKenzie Art Gallery and the Shu-Box theatre at the University of Regina. And this is just a short list of their contributions and accomplishments.

The generosity of course does not end at the Shumiatcher Amphitheatre. The McKell Wascana Conservation Park is a conservation easement which was donated by the McKell family: Robert, Barbara, Doug and Shirley McKell. According to the Nature Conservancy website, in a conservation easement land agreement, the owners of the land donate or sell certain property rights specific to conservation efforts such as their rights to subdivide or develop the land.

Even if the land is passed down or sold, the conservation agreement remains legally binding, which ensures the protection and conservation of the land. As one of the plaques states: “By placing this conservation easement on their land, (now the southern portion of the park), the McKell family is preserving this natural area for wildlife and people to enjoy today and leaving a legacy for generations to come.”

IMG_5519

The floating dock!

And there is so much to enjoy! The park itself has four kilometers of groomed trails, benches for sight-seeing, interpretive signage for the kids and the life-long learners, and an amphitheatre for educational programming. It also has a large floating dock which is perfect for a picnic!

But a description really does not do justice to how amazing this park is — only by going there can you truly appreciate this park. Within the city limits, it offers a feeling of escaping the city life and nestling into a prairie landscape which seems infinite.

I went there with my dog around sunset (because obviously, I love a good excuse to bask in a Saskatchewan sunset) and we walked for over an hour exploring the different parts of the trail.

IMG_5533

This trail allows dogs!

On the one side, the trail is lined with beautiful homes which can make anyone daydream of interior design and landscaping, and on the other, it is wide open prairies for kilometres, only interrupted by Wascana Creek and if you are lucky, a farmer and a combine. I was also blown away with the floating dock, because floating docks are easy to get blown away by. I think any landscape gets more beautiful if you are viewing it from a dock.

The McKell’s donation has ensured that it will be used to educate and inspire. And what a beautiful thing that is. Without even leaving the city, kids can learn about the natural heritage of their province and of the unique wildlife and natural habitats that exist in the prairies. And of course, adults can learn a thing or two as well; I know I did!

IMG_5515

The trail to the creek!

So, if I were you, I would make McKell Wascana Conservation Park your next get-away! Whether you are taking kids to learn about the natural habitat of the wetlands or taking a leisurely stroll to take in the sunset, McKell Wascana Conservation Park is a perfect get-away while still remaining inside the city limits.

Have fun exploring!

If you are interested, there is more information about the McKell Wascana Conservation Park and those who contributed to its excellence:

https://www.regina.ca/residents/heritage-history/historical-biographies/biography-shumiatcher/
http://www.ducks.ca/places/saskatchewan/mckell-wascana-conservation-park/
https://www.nature.org/about-us/private-lands-conservation/conservation-easements/what-are-conservation-easements.xml

 

Trail Beats

 

Audio Littering

City life can grind down even the most high-spirited folks, and it might be a good idea to get out of an urban area once in a while! There’s nothing like escaping the city to allow the fresh air and sounds of nature restore your mind and heart. Remember to bring lots of water and to dress appropriately for the weather and terrain so that you have the best experience. Make sure that you know your route well and/or bring along mapping or GPS equipment to keep you from getting lost.

The term for leaving bits of garbage along nature trails is “littering”. The term that has been adopted for this obnoxious form of auditory assault on nature is “audio littering”. It is likely fledgling and novice hikers that are guilty of this behaviour. They are likely not perpetrating it out of disrespect of others, but out of ignorance concerning the effects on other nature-lovers and on animals. Remember to respect the other naturophiles and any sound-sensitive animals and insects by leaving the speakers at home.

We would be amiss, however, if we didn’t at least mention the benefits of using tunes as a bear deterrent. If you’re in grizzly country (not as applicable to Saskatchewan, but who knows where your travels will take you!), you may get tired of the constant jingle of bear bells or of mumbling “hey bear!” for hours on end. To break up the monotony, it’s likely forgivable to play some music at a reasonable volume for a few hours.

In the majority of cases, the consensus from other trail users is that it is best for you to leave your blaring music at home. As much as you may feel that everyone deserves to be serenaded by your musical selection, other hikers (not to mention the local, disturbed and startled fauna) may feel differently.

 

Trail Tunes

Now, we will take a moment to point out that there is a very large difference between bringing portable speakers to blast your music across the hills and throwing on some headphones to sink into some of your favourite tunes. If you’re going to plug into your headphones, it’s important to remember a couple of things.

First, safety (of course). It’s all well and good to plug in at a café, but earbuds in a forest can distract us from the very real dangers of the trail. Other trail users, bears, sudden topographical changes (logs/roots/cliffs) may all be on your list of concerns, depending on how confidently you know the trail. You’ll want to calculate the likelihood of running into danger and consider even leaving one ear bud out to better hear oncoming hikers, bikers, horses, and animals. Music doesn’t have to be turned up to an obnoxious volume; part of the joy of nature is the sound of nature.

Second, the music that you listen to will set your stage. Music can bring us up or down, to make us joyful or sorrowful. What music you choose will affect your hike in a very real way and may even make you more or less likely to pursue that activity again in the future. Do you want or need to keep your spirits high? Or are you looking to foster some serious melancholic thinking? Choose your tunes carefully to cultivate the feeling you want.

To get you started, https://8tracks.com/explore/hiking has (at last count) 208 free hiking playlists for you, with amazing audio like Ben Howard and more mainstream music like the Lumineers. You’re sure to find something that you like, and playlists like these are a great way to discover music that you otherwise would never have encountered.

 

My personal favourites: nobody can beat Porcupine Tree, Amplifier, and Pretty Lights for their ability to groove with nature.

Porcupine Tree sounds like a slightly more modern version of Pink Floyd, complete with mood swings between exaltation and beautifully tragic. I recommend their entire album “Lightbulb Sun” to get you started.

Amplifier is reminiscent of Tool, with disestablishment lyrics, shoegaze, sweeping, melodic guitar riffs, quick tempo changes, and gorgeous drum work. The band was formed out of the ashes of Oceansize. If you were a fan, you’ll love Amplifier, and find that it goes well with hiking and is a little easier to listen to (less descent into dissonance). Their first self-titled album (2004) is a treat, especially the last two tracks.

Pretty Lights (known for his light shows at music festivals) plays upbeat and joyful funky tracks, with samples from long-lost music and a wistful touch of the melancholy. Here’s my favourite track, called “Understand Me Now”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOk5az-KnOY. If you’re looking to buy an album of theirs, “A Colour Map of the Sun” will blend wonderfully with whatever lovely nature scene you find.

 

Happy hiking!

 

Hiking trail etiquette

Hiking trail etiquette 

 

The rules to the trail are largely unwritten, and trail users are expected to know them going in. Failing to understand them ahead of time can result in ‘faux-pas’ on your part that may range from embarrassing to outright dangerous or even fatal. It’s best for everyone to be aware of the rules of the road before hand so that everyone can meet oncoming people and challenges with tact, grace, predictability, and safety. Let’s run through them, and it might be advisable to print out this list and take it with you, or even to review it before hitting the trail.

  1. Yield when appropriate

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you should never play chicken with a semi truck. By that same logic, you may wish to protect yourself on the trail and keep in mind the fact that running groups, bikers, ATVs, dogs, and horses can mow you down no matter how much signage is put up.

 

The rule of the trail is that the more agile object yields. Bikes yield to people, and everything yields to horses. Bikes can stop and go quickly and are understood to be highly predictable and controllable.

 

EVERYTHING yields to horses. It’s not just because horses are bigger (some ATVs can get to be a good size), but because some horses are panicky around motors and bikes. And even people. The default mentality of horses (carried over from millennia of evolution) is that everything is trying to eat them. Their immediate response is to run away. On the trail, anything that you can do to keep from posing a threat to them is highly appreciated to their riders.

 

  1. Sharing is caring

Try to maintain a safe distance between you and other hikers, especially on hills. Nobody wants to break your fall if you trip and come tumbling down, and you don’t want to offer that service to anyone else either, for your own safety! Comfort, privacy, personal space, and connection with nature are all concerns as well that encourage distance between hiking groups. Stay to the right of trails and move off the trail (if there’s room) when resting. Make sure that you choose a durable rest area like a rock or patch of dirt or snow instead of a nice fluffy grass or flower patch. That patch might look tempting, but it won’t survive your intrusion.

 

Another unwritten rule of the trail is that hikers going uphill have the right of way. They’re working harder and are likely to want to keep their stride and momentum. They’ll let you know if they prefer to rest and let you pass; if this happens, they should be allowed to make the call.

 

  1. Signal

Letting other hikers know that you’re there can be critical. The danger of spooking them can be a small fright (if they’re hiking) or severe injury (if they’re riding a horse or bike). If you’re a shy type, a simple “Howdy!” or “Hi!” should suffice. You may notice that seasoned hikers are awkwardly chatty, but they’re talkative for good reason! If you’re able to muster more conversation, it’s often a good idea to strike up a chat with an oncoming hiker or a slower person that you overtake. That individual might just be the last person who has seen you, knows your whereabouts, and can direct search parties to you if you get lost or hurt yourself on the trail. Making sure that you’re memorable isn’t just friendly; it’s smart!

 

When you’re overtaking other hikers, signalling that you’re passing is commonly done by calling out “left!” Not only does this term (much like the golfer’s “FORE!”) let people know that you’re there, but you’re avoiding trail crowding by telling them the direction that you’re taking to approach. If you’re riding a bike, a quick ring of your bell (or honk of your horn) serves the same purpose and will let people know that you’re coming.

 

  1. Minimizing impact

Contrary to the above advice, we’ll next suggest that you be quiet while you hike! It is tempting to hear the hills come alive with the sound of your echoes, but unless you’re seriously concerned about bear encounters then it is wise to keep the noise pollution to a minimum. Keep conversations short and voices down. Also, ringers off please! You’ll be glad that you unplugged for a few hours.

 

Unnecessary markers are also a form of visual pollution that can clog up trails. Notches on trees or (shudder!) initials carved in trees may seem romantic but are damaging. Piles of rocks (cairns) are unneeded for navigation and come to serve no purpose other than an egotistical “I was here!” when the forest becomes littered with them. Any type of marker focuses traffic in an undesirable way, as high traffic areas are more prone to trail scars.

 

Almost as bad as cairn builders are cairn topplers. Some hikers feel that they are doing the woods a service by clearing them of human-made objects. However, it is very likely that the (disrespectful) person who built the cairn will build another if that one is toppled. Additionally, cairns are sometimes employed in burial practices of small animals and family pets – as much as they should not be built, they should equally not be destroyed.

 

Remember that slack line, hammock, tent, tarp, and horse tying ropes all damage trees. It is important to stake wires to the ground, or to use appropriate padding on all ropes.

 

  1. Stay on the trail

It may be quite tempting to investigate every glade and beautiful rock outcropping that nature has to offer. However, human shoes and handprints leave their mark on nature, crushing it. The rules aren’t in place just for you, but are put there with everyone in mind; what would happen if everyone wandered off the path and though the woods, stomping all over the forest? Some ecosystems bounce right back from a small amount of traffic, but some are very sensitive (like the Taiga) to even a single off-path trek. Other regions (even though they might bounce back from a few wanderers) would be devastated if a high number of people ignored this rule.  Not only do footprints crush vegetation in some areas, but they also contribute to erosion.

 

The trail may wind past or through territory belonging to private owners. It is important to respect the privacy of people who might be living along the trails, as well as the wellbeing of the land itself on or adjacent to the trail. Permissions for other people to hike through farmland can be (and sometimes are!) withdrawn, and if complaints are made about trail users by private citizens, it is possible that trails use will be restricted.

 

  1. Perceived danger

It’s not unrealistic that you could encounter a person or situation that makes you feel unsafe. If so, it’s a good time to bring out that cellphone that you remembered to bring along. It’s also advisable to pretend that you’re with a larger, hiking group, and many groups will be glad to have you hike with them for the trail or the day if you feel unsafe (no commitment required!). It’s always a good idea to ask for help if you get lost or if you need any supplies – other hikers are likely happy to share their water, sunscreen, first aid supplies, etc. if you run into trouble. Even the best-prepared are still caught unaware, and seasoned hikers are often not judgemental of trail hazards.

 

  1. Leave no trace

It should go without saying that littering is terrible anywhere, and arguably especially so on the trail where it spoils views of untouched nature. Also, there are no street sweepers to clean up dropped cans and wrappers in the wild, and the shiny objects may be taken up by animals to locations where they may continue to pollute for eons before they completely decompose. The rule to follow is: if you pack it in, pack it out.

 

Remember not to make fires or fire circles in the wild. Please use picnic areas and grills if provided. Fire scars remain for years and may become very numerous if allowed to be created unchecked.

 

Use only provided toilet facilities, if possible. If not possible, the “bush” procedure is to dig a hole 6 inches deep, at least 200 ft away from any open water.

 

Pets are best left at home since they are likely to disturb wildlife with their scents and noises. If you do end up bringing them, remember to keep them on a leash so that they do not disturb other hikers or animals. You should always clean up after your pets, and they should never be allowed to void near water sources that they might contaminate.  This same rule goes for horses! They should never be tied within 20 feet of open water.

 

A good final note is to remember not to take anything with you from the trail. Many wonders await you: fossils, flowers, rocks, seed pods, neat bugs, and many more! Take a picture and leave the amazing scenery for the next person to enjoy.

 

STA NEWS

The STA is also holding a photo contest for the month of June! For more details, visit http://sasktrails.ca/give-us-your-best-shot!/ and use #sasktrailsphotocontest to enter. You can find our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sasktrails/ .

Volunteer for Trail Work Weekend at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park

The STA is pleased to partner with Prairie Sky Running Company and the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport for the Trail Work Weekend on June 2-3 at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park in Stewart Valley. This volunteer opportunity will help the race directors of the Beaver Flat 50 to prepare and mark the trails for the Sept. 15 event.

This is a great chance to learn about how to properly maintain a trail and prepare it for special events. Some of the activities you could be taking part include clearing cattails, trimming branches, moving stones off the trail or marking trails.

There will be opportunities to network with trail experts, including ministry staff members. By volunteering for this event, you will be making a difference and learning some valuable skills that can translate to the maintenance of other trails.

To register as a volunteer, visit https://raceroster.com/events/2018/18002/beaver-flat-50-trail-work-weekend. Please note that you can show up to the event even if you haven’t registered. Here’s some important event info:

WHERE

The Equestrian Campground on the south side of the river. Turn west off the highway into the Goodwin House parking lot. Drive through the parking lot and down the gravel road about 1km until you see the Equestrian Campground. We will be set up at the Stock Trailer Parking. If you’re camping, any one of the campsites is free for the taking. The park has graciously providing us with free camping for the weekend. We will start working at approximately 9 a.m. each morning.

WHAT WE’LL BE DOING

Whipper-snipping will be high priority job. There will also be a bit of lawn mower use. You could be clearing cattails, trimming branches, moving stones off the trail or marking trails. Our partners at the park are planning on putting up some permanent markers along the course. We anticipate that the majority of the maintenance work will happen on June 2 and the trail marking will occur on June 3. We will split people up into work groups and assign jobs that morning.

FOOD AND WATER

We will supply food and water. It’s not going be anything fancy. If you have some specific food needs or allergies, please bring what you need for food. Bring a pack with you to pack your lunch in. We could be on the course over lunch in some instances. Also bring a water bottle to pack water in.

SCORCHING HOT

It could be very hot so prepare accordingly. We’ll have some sunscreen and water, but make sure you wear appropriate attire and a hat. Even when you don’t think it’s that hot, the coulees always seem to be 10,000 degrees warmer than near the water. Carry water and drink continuously and slowly over the course of the day, even if you do not feel thirsty. Use a hydration system if desired.

Gatorade or other hydration drinks are good, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you use. Even after work, slowly keep drinking water to re-hydrate; if you don’t, the next day you might feel like you have a hang-over. Other symptoms might include pasty mouth, dry skin, head-ache, dizziness, red hot dry skin, rapid strong pulse, nausea and confusion. In addition, eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.

SAFETY GEAR

We will have gloves, goggles, and ear protection. Close toed shoes or hikers are required. Flip flops or open-toed anything will be your demise.

TICKS

There’s likely going to be a zillion ticks. Check yourself. Use Google to learn the best way to manage the tick situation. Be strong. They’re like weird spider mosquitos…nothing to it really.

DOGS AND YOUNG CHILDREN, PROBABLY NOT

We want to keep your pets safe and with all of spinning-bladed implements in operation it may be difficult to manage your pets. Let’s leave them behind for this one. Also, due to the nature of the terrain and possible conditions this will not be an appropriate activity for young children.

Give us your best shot!

 

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 2 — Saskatchewan Trails Day – and concludes on June 30.  A prize package (including a $25 gift card to Cabela’s Canada, golf balls, and a t-shirt) will be presented to our winner. To enter our contest, post a picture of your favourite trail in Saskatchewan on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, using the hashtag #SaskTrailsPhotoContest.

 

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

 

A trip to Roche Percee

Recently, we ventured to La Roche Percee Provincial Historic Site and snapped some great pictures. The site is located in the Souris River Valley, approximately 20 kilometres southeast of the City of Estevan.

Here’s some background on the area:

The site consists of a large sandstone outcrop that has been sculpted into unusual shapes by the forces of erosion and inscribed with carvings that date from precontact to present times.

The heritage value of La Roche Percee lies in its status as an important landmark and record of the region’s changing historical landscape. The rock was once nearly covered with precontact carvings of animal, human and geometric forms thought to have been created by Siouan speakers. Historical accounts state that the Nakota (Assiniboin) regarded the site as sacred, never passing the rock without leaving offerings. Erosion and later carvings have taken a toll, leaving only a few carved pits and some red ochre staining as evidence for First Nations use of the site.

As you can see from the pictures, there are some great paths that allow you to explore the area fully for as long as you’d like. Be sure to add Roche Percee to your bucket list!

If you’re interested in exploring the area by horseback, you can take part in the annual historic three-day Roche Percee Trail Ride, featuring. Read more about the ride in this Grainews article.

Check out this old blog post from Roche Percee further describing the area.

Boreal Trail Closure (Updated)

We have recently received an update on the Boreal Trail in Meadow Lake Provincial Park. The trail is currently closed due to a storm that swept through the area last fall. The storm left many trees damaged and some had fallen on the trail. There are signs posted at the trail head indicating trail closure and advisory to use trail at your own risk.

A statement has been posted on Tourism Saskatchewan’s website with more information:

“Due to the October 2016 and April 2017 snow storms all trails within the park have a significant amount of fallen trees on them and users must use extreme caution. Please contact the park administration office for further instructions at 306-236-7680 or 306-236-7617.”

IMG_0935 IMG_0933

Hiking Elbow Trails

Last week I spent the afternoon hiking the trails in Elbow, Saskatchewan. These trails recently celebrated their grand opening this spring.  This gorgeous spot offers a great variety of changing scenery and makes for a great way to spend the afternoon.
IMG_8047

The trail head, which connects to the Trans Canada Trail can be found from the golf course. Here, the trail starts with a easy walk through prairie land, where it then begins to descend and wrap around the harbour.  Here you get a great view of Diefenbaker Lake, as well as the boats lined up in Elbow marina. The trail then takes you back to the golf course where you are welcomed by chairs and a phenomenal view.  You can continue the trail along the harbour where the trail then turns in the bush.

DSC_8857 2
The remainder of the trail is approximately 6km is covered by trees. This portion of the hike is a bit more difficult and involves a steady incline.  Along the way there are several markers with historical background of Elbow Saskatchewan. There are also several picnic tables and benches along the way.

DSC_8841

This trail makes for a moderate hike or a more challenging bike. The trail offers a wide variety of trees and plant life. I would recommend you complete this trail a few times in order to take all of what it has to offer.

DSC_8852

After our hike, we stopped at the Harbor Golf Club House for lunch.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day to complete the hike.  Elbow trails will be up on our trail directory shortly to help plan your next adventure in Elbow Saskatchewan.

Now Open: Watrous Rotary Trail Phase Two

The following was written by Daniel Bushman from The Watrous Manitou.

 

IMG_5040

“With a cut of the tape by Watrous Town Councillor John Gunderson followed by the applause from those in attendance, the Rotary Trail Phase Two officially opened. Despite an earlier rain shower Friday, June 30, local Rotarians, dignitaries and residents gathered near the water treatment plant in Watrous, (which is also close to where the new phase of the trail begins) to see the official ribbon cutting ceremony.
After a few remarks from Rotarian Jim Coulter, Rotarian Al Mosewich, who has been a major driver of the first and second phase of the trail along with Harold Regier, who graciously provided some of his farmland to be used for the second instalment held the ribbon while Gunderson made the ceremonial cut. Rotarians, residents and visitors then took a walk on the new phase, which links up to the original trail and curves back towards Watrous.
“There are a lot of people that need to be recognized,” said Mosewich regarding the trail’s opening. Mosewich said Harold Regier and his family generously provided permission for the town to include the trail on his land located on the northern part of Watrous. In addition to Regier’s generosity, Ron Ediger from Melron Service was the main contractor on the trail build; Wes Woiden from Woiden Construction did the installation of the culverts; Brad Sundquist from Watrous Concrete supplied tons of base gravel; and all made significant personal donations to help see the trail get built.
Many local fundraisers over the last four years, including last year’s GJM Charity Classic Golf Tournament have also been contributors towards the trail. “There have been 100’s of donors and many fundraisers to raise money for the second phase of the trail.”
Mosewich also noted many town employees like Public Works Superintendent Dion Tarasoff and his public works crews did much of the work; and Susan Jabs and staff in the town office also contributed, writing receipts for contributors.
While work on the original phase of the trail, which runs along Main Street in Watrous towards the cemetery began October 2006 and was completed July of 2009, phase two took a little longer, spanning four years. However, this time around

Mosewich said they were able to raise enough funds and will not have to take out a loan to pay off the remainder of the trail.
“It took four years to raise the money and one week to spend it,” Mosewich chuckled. Substantially complete, Mosewich said they would be letting the gravel pack and settle for phase two. Instead of paving it, a chip-seal surface will be applied by Chad Mierau from Diamond Asphalt Repair, but might not be completed until the fall.
While phase one stretches 1.6 kilometres, phase two, which extends from the first phase and loops back towards Watrous to 3rd St. E., is about one kilometre in length.
To walk both phases Mosewich said, “If you go from The Watrous Manitou on Main Street to the gazebo on the first phase and then over to phase two and then down to 13th Ave. off 3rd St. E. and over to the first phase of the trail then back to The Watrous Manitou, it would be about three miles. It would also take about an hour to walk. I am excited to see the trail come to fruition and I hope that others will enjoy it as much as I already have.”
As for what is next, Mosewich said there are four proposals that have been looked at and would more than likely be done in three or four parts. Those include:
• having the trail extending alongside the highway towards the Manitou Beach Golf Course;
• having the trail located on the other side of the highway and running towards Manitou Beach (there would be water to contend with in both situations);
• crossing the highway and following the creek bed,formerly known as Stacey’s Dam, to the back of Wellington Park at Manitou Beach. This would be more of a nature trail type path; and
• following the road allowance that runs in a line from Centennial Ford to the west end of Manitou Beach behind the golf course. That might allow the trail to hook up to the Manitou Beach trail system.
Mosewich noted if any of these options are done, that it could take up to 10 years or so before completion. Until then, Mosewich is looking forward to enjoying the current trail.
The Rotarian also provided some unique statistics for Watrous Rotary Trail Phase Two:
• over 600 tons of pit run gravel was used;
• 137 tons of base gravel and 1368 yards of aggregate was used;
• 34 hours of the track steer spreading gravel was done;
• 53 hours of trucks hauling and unloading gravel was done;
• 130 hours of labour from driving trucks, bringing out backhoes to other work;
• nine hours of peeling back the top soil; and
• 17 hours of packing the gravel.
“From start to completion, it was really a whole town effort and the entire community has been behind us since we began phase two. There remains a core group of Rotarians that would like to see the trail extend to the beach so perhaps that will one day become a reality, it just might take 10 years or more to get there. It is like Rome, it was not built in a day.”

http://watrousmanitou.com/

 

IMG_2594

STA Trail Ambassador: Beaver Lake Trail in Moose Mountain Provincial Park

Beaver Lake Trail in Saskatchewan’s Moose Mountain Provincial Park
July 11, 2017 | Paul Cutting

Our first adventure while staying in Saskatchewan’s Moose Mountain Provincial Park was hiking the Beaver Lake Trail.  The reason we chose to feature this trail is that the Beaver Lake Trail is very pedestrian.  It is a wide and well maintained trail that you simply can’t get lost on, which is perfect for introducing the fun of hiking to our nearly three year old daughter and our thirteen week old puppy Echo.
The Tourism Saskatchewan trail map for Moose Mountain Provincial Park lists the Beaver Lake Trail at 4.5km, however my Garmin recorded the hike from the starting gates at 4km.  The terrain is made up of rolling hills accompanied by some great scenery.  Evidence of beaver is everywhere, deer prints can be spotted wherever the ground is wet and the large variety of birds is quite something.  The Beaver Lake Trail includes interpretive signs along the way that turn the hike into an exciting learning opportunity.
For this short introductory hike we decided to bring along our Chariot as we knew our daughter would not complete the 4km on her own.  We also thought it would be a great place to carry Echo should she decide that the hike was too much for her as she is just learning to walk on a lead.

Picture1

The Beaver Lake Trail is wide and well groomed.

Picture2

Family portrait attempt at a clearing overlooking Beaver Lake.

Picture3

 Interpretive signs were in good shape and unobstructed.

Picture4

Some of the nice flowers along the trail.

Picture5

We enjoyed joking that this was a giant beaver damn.

 Picture6

Well groomed and maintained trail.  Echo is doing great.

Picture7

V takes a turn walking Echo along the shore of Beaver Lake.

f58a20_7acea59302764f7f8bbae17e3b484698~mv2_d_1535_2048_s_2

Time for a break.  This bench is placed roughly at the half way point of the hike.  There was a garbage can
here as well for any ‘waste’ you or your hiking companions may generate.  Pick some trash up along the way if
you see any.

f58a20_697b094debac4f009cf22c436f11bba2~mv2_d_1537_2048_s_2

More of the beautiful flowers you can find along the Beaver Lake Trail.

Picture6
A small creek runs from a beaver damn across the trail into Beaver Lake.

Picture9

Cam watches V and Echo hike the trail with ease.  Beaver Lake is on the left.

Picture10

More of the signage along the trail.

Picture11

Echo loved trying to eat these flowers and there were many along the trail.

Picture1

Everyone is still going strong at just over 3km into the trail.

Picture2

More flowers that decorate the trail.  V enjoyed picking these and tickling us with them.

Picture3

Birch trees are easily spotted in the forest and are a great tree to teach your kids about.
V enjoyed feeling the fungi, lichen and bark on the trees.

 Picture4

The weather was hot so V took the opportunity to sit out the final portion of the hike.
Echo loved lounging in the patches of clover.

 

Picture18

Here is the elevation profile of the Beaver Lake Trail in Moose Mountain Provincial Park.

We recorded 21m of elevation gain and 16 m of elevation loss.

Picture19

A satellite image of where the Beaver Lake Trail runs.

In total we hiked this trail three times over the weekend.  Each time we did it we saw something new and the bugs were never an issue.
Paul decided to ride the trail on his mountain bike doing multiple laps in both directions which made for a great endurance training ride for him.  A ride he would classify as easy and very fast.  If you are on your bike always be on the lookout for pedestrians and use proper trail etiquette when cycling as it’s a shared use trail.
We would highly recommend the Beaver Lake Trail in Saskatchewan’s Moose Mountain Provincial Park.  Particularly if you are introducing children to hiking.  Have you enjoyed this trail?  If so share your photos with us on Instagram or twitter.

 

 

This blog post was written by STA Trail Ambassador Paul Cutting. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us, Paul! If you would like to see Paul’s past adventures visit his website, or check out his Instagram or Twitter!

Twitter: @cuttingadventur

Instagram: @cuttingintoadventure

Website: CuttingIntoAdventure.com