Saskatchewan Trails Raffle Winners

Saskatchewan Trails Raffle Winners

Saskatchewan Trails Association raffle in support of the Churchill River Water Trail Legacy Program was held on Saturday, March 28. This program is supporting the development and stewardship of canoe and hiking routes along the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan.

The winners were:

Saskatoon Canoeing Club Membership: Adam Buettner

 

Classic Outdoors Paddle: Anne Marie Hawkins

 

Hand Carved Greeland Kayak Paddle: Mark Lavoie

 

Back40 Wilderness Package: John Dosman

 

Outter Limits Camping Package: Guy Perrin

 

Eb’s Source for Adventure Package: Sheila Ragush

 

Churchill River Outfitters Package: Philip Hitchings

Thank you to all the sponsors that provided the prizes, the volunteers who helped organize the raffle, and people who purchased tickets. 

Explore Saskatchewan’s Hidden Beauty 

Explore Saskatchewan’s Hidden Beauty 

With some parks closing their parking lots to prevent people from entering, there are many beautiful and isolated trails that you, and your furry pals, can take advantage of where you will likely not run into any other visitors for miles!  

If by chance you do run into other trail lovers along your hike, it is advised that you adhere to the guidelines set out by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). You can help protect yourself by practicing social distancing which is defined as maintaining a 2-meter distance away from others and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as well as any other surfaces others may have come in contact with. It is also important to practice good hand hygiene.  

The Saskatchewan Trails Association offers an on-line directory of trails that you can consider for your next scenic prairie hike. The directory includes quality maps, GPS coordinates and detailed descriptions of many of Saskatchewan’s trails and their nearby amenities.  

Whether you’re taking a hike through the Crooked Bush trails near Hafford which is home to a small grove of aspen trees that have developed a genetic mutation that makes them grow in a very interesting way or you’re taking in the picturesque Qu’Appelle Valley on the Lumsden/Deer Valley Trans Canada Trail, there is a little piece of paradise awaiting trail enthusiasts throughout this difficult time.

With multi-use trails made for beginner to advanced hikers, bikers and wildlife lovers, there are many ways to get out of the house and in touch with all that nature has to offer. It is important to remember that despite the uncertainty of these times, it also offers you a unique opportunity to experience an adventure that takes you off the beaten track. 

To start planning your next trail adventure and discover the many different trail options, first click on the Sport, Culture & Recreation District that you are interested in visiting and then click on a trail for more information at https://sasktrails.ca/trail-directory/ 

And to all of our Saskatchewan Trails supporters and enthusiasts, we wish you safety and wellness during this unprecedented time. 

 

Changes to 2020 Annual General Meeting

Changes to 2020 Annual General Meeting

Due to growing concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the closures of all Regina Public Libraries, the Saskatchewan Trails Association’s Annual General Meeting will take place via conference call on Saturday, March 28, 2020 beginning at 10:30 am.

To ensure you are able to join in on the call please contact (306) 522-9326 or email info@sasktrails.ca and we will provide you with the call-in coordinates. Below is the revised agenda for the conference call.

Revised Agenda:

10:30 a.m.      

Welcome and Introductions

Call to Order

Approval of the Agenda

Approval of the Previous Meeting Minutes

Business Arising From the Minutes

President’s Report

Approval of Financial Statements

Approval of Auditor

Bylaw Amendments

Board of Directors Election

New Business

Adjournment

Please find below the links to the meeting minute materials, financial statements and the Annual Report.

Links:

2019 AGM meeting minutes

2019 FS

2020 STA Annual Report

Families on The Trail

Families on The Trail

Trails are fun individually, in a small group or even in a large trail group. Trails can offer a spectacular experience for families with members of all ages! You don’t need to go on a multi-day hike or climb mountains to start using the trails. The only requirements are a positive attitude and love for nature!

Regardless of age, old or young, trails can be used by anyone at no cost. Trails throughout Saskatchewan vary in length and difficulty to meet everyone’s needs. Some trails are even wheelchair accessible.

For those who may need mobility assistance, hiking poles and canes can be a great way to maintain balance over potentially rough terrain. Can’t justify leaving your pets at home for a long walk? Some trails are even pet friendly! No matter what your physical ability, a stroll on the trails is for you and offers many positive health benefits for everybody!

From first hike to expert, there are trail difficult ratings, maps, lengths, pictures and all the info you could need to plan your next family outing. Trails are especially fun for children of all ages to learn to adventure, explore, and be creative in the outdoors.

Taking your family with you on a hike or walk is a phenomenal bonding experience for everybody involved and can be made into a monthly routine or tradition for the family to share together!

Trails are not just for hiking either. Many of the trails throughout Saskatchewan can be hiked as well as cycled and also have open areas that offer a great opportunity for a picnic, fishing, games, camping, kayaking, or even special scavenger hunt for kids!

Make sure to check on our blog for more information on the trails, activities, and tips. Curious which trail is for you and your family? Checkout our Sask Trails Directory here: https://sasktrails.ca/trail-directory/ to learn more about each individual trail or our blog on how to find the trails here: https://sasktrails.ca/how-to-find-trails-in-saskatchewan/!

Common Q&As

Common Q&As

As the provincial trail association in the province, we receive plenty of questions from the community. So we decided to take all of the most commonly-asked questions and make them into a blog! Hopefully these common questions can help others to find what they are looking for and save more time to spend on the amazing Saskatchewan trails!

 Where to Find Trails?

The first and most commonly-asked question we receive is where to find trails? This can be a tricky answer as there is no one place that lists all of the trails in Saskatchewan. However, we are trying our best! Our STA Trail Directory contains listings and descriptions of most of the main trails throughout Saskatchewan.

Fortunately, there are also lots of apps like AllTrails and TrailForks that have large databases of most of the trails around the world, including Saskatchewan. The blog consisting of all of the different ways to find trails can be found here: https://sasktrails.ca/how-to-find-trails-in-saskatchewan/!

 Update Directories?

Similarly, to the where to find trails question, we are also often asked when we are updating our trail directories or why some apps or sites don’t have all of the trails. As a non-profit, we rely on the community and trail operators to assist us.

We cannot go to every trail and see the changes or new trails. However, if you are out exploring wonderful Saskatchewan and stumble upon a new trail or information you want to share, we encourage you to send us an email, comment, message or carrier pigeon to let us know so we can update the STA Trail Directory for our community. Not only do we love updates on the trails, but we also enjoy hearing stories, seeing pictures, or learning tips and tricks that we can share.

 Join Communities?

A lot of people ask about different trail, hiking, cycling, or alternative activity groups. Not only are trail groups a way to meet new people who share similar interests, but they also offer an opportunity to learn about new fun events and be empowered by like-minded individuals.

There are groups for literally every kind of trail activity that are full of great people with tons of information to share. If you are considering looking for new friends or activity partners, take a look at our blog that highlights a few of the many amazing Facebook communities and groups that you can join here: https://sasktrails.ca/trail-communities-in-saskatchewan/!

 Volunteering?

People are often looking to do some community work or give back to the trail community for various reasons. Where, when, and how are common questions when looking to volunteer or looking for volunteers. Most trails throughout Saskatchewan have their own websites and Facebook pages that often hold clean up or maintenance events.

Alternatively, if you are looking for volunteers or to hold a similar event, you can contact us directly on any social media for assistance in promoting your event. As all trails are free to use, most have small to no budget and can always benefit from having more volunteers to look after these wonderful treasures! Want more information on particular trails? Send us a message and we would love to keep you updated!

 What Trails Can I *Insert Activity* On?

Another very common question we receive is which trails are cyclist friendly, or which trails are ATV friendly or even which trails are best for horseback riding? As previously stated, many trails have a website, Facebook page, can be found in the STA Trail Directory or even the phone apps like AllTrails or TrailForks.

These websites, apps, and pages can tell you what is allowed on the trails and what should be avoided. The same thing goes for dog friendly trails since many trails restrict animals while others encourage you to bring your pets. It’s smart to check online before hand to get all the information you need! The STA wants to continue to update the community on the best trails to do all activities are so stay tuned to see more blogs and social media posts on various trails and the best activities to do on them!

Contact Us

Of course, we couldn’t answer every question with this blog so feel free to send us a message any time with your questions, comments, stories, or pictures and we will do our best to get back to you in a timely manor. Thank you to this splendid community we have and Trail On!

2020 Member Trail Grant Recipients

2020 Member Trail Grant Recipients

The STA is pleased to announce the recipients of our Member Trail Grant Program. We will be providing $1000 grants to the Foam Lake & District Leisure Services Board and the Qu’Appelle Valley Nordic Ski Club.

The Foam Lake project involves a group of dedicated volunteers called Team Nature Trails (TNT), which has been working to improve the community’s overall well-being and quality of life by restoring the nature trails in the RM of Foam Lake’s Foam Lake Heritage Marsh areas. This area is a designated International Birding Area, and sees many tourist “birders” each year during migration periods. Many locals like to explore this area over the summer months as well. Visitors utilize the trails that are accessible and can enjoy nature, birds, the history of the marsh, as told by signage around the area.

This area must be restored due to flooding in the past that destroyed signage, viewing platforms, and eroded shorelines where trails once were. Each year, volunteers plan to work on a specific area and have thus far repaired two areas that are now accessible for public access with beautiful, walkable trails, new platforms and historical signage to educate visitors about the area’s flora, fauna and history.

In 2020, the TNT is working with its neighbouring First Nations Community – Fishing Lake First Nations, to gain a deeper perspective into the history of this area, where many of FLFN Elders were born and have many stories to tell. This project will see a bank of “story” signage along the Vatnabyggd Trail, outlining “Stories of the Marsh” – which to this point, have only been told in the European (Icelandic) point of view. TNT feels it is integral to tell the whole story, and start with our first peoples.

Funding from the STA will support Elders protocol (meetings entail gifts of tobacco, honourariums), and the purchase, and installation of 12 11×17” signs with stories to be placed along trails for visitors to gain a better understanding of the history of this area.

The Qu’Appelle Valley Nordic Ski Club mission is to operate a full-service Nordic facility that provides biathlon and cross country ski programming, including all-season training options, for recreational and competitive athletes from Saskatchewan and Western Canada

Its existing facility has been built from scratch over the last five years through the work of committed volunteers and partnerships with local organizations. The club has invested more than $240,000 into the development of our biathlon range, clubhouse, targets, trails, grass mower and trail grooming equipment. The trail system now offers skiing for both classic and skate, for novice and experts, and for casual and competitive skiers for over 100 members and local residents.  During the summer months, the trails provide opportunities for hiking, cycling, and running.  Each year the club hosts a number of biathlon camps and trail runs.

Currently, trails at QVN are in need of maintenance including leveling to address off-camber slope, eliminating high-spots, a method to capture more snow and sign marking.   Funding from the STA will be used to complete this work.  In 2020 planned work includes trail levelling, sign marking to aid skiers and hikers, tree planting for wind protection, snow accumulation and habitat, as well as additional snow fence installation.

Saskatchewan Trails Association Annual General Meeting

Saskatchewan Trails Annual General Meeting

10:30 a.m.

Saturday, March 28

Sunrise Branch Library/Sandra Schmirler Centre

3130 E. Woodhams, Regina

To register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sasktrails-annual-general-meeting-tickets-92734775209?aff=efbevent&fbclid=IwAR0c4kaLW1ay3VJ4lsO3AUJAKY4cpDxmivSGLaKSH1YBZemJpWqCymWLlU4

 

The Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan provides some of the most outstanding scenery in the province. Ric Driedger of Churchill River Outfitters will present on the canoeing and hiking trails in this area and the need for proper management at our annual general meeting. The river flows over Precambian Shield into a series of lakes joined by rapids and falls, crossing forests and rocky outcroppings. This is your opportunity to find out more about this unique area of the province.

 

Our AGM will take place on Saturday, March 28 at the Sunrise Library (3130 Woodhams Drive) in Regina. The meeting will also feature a presentation on the Parks For All initiative by Andrew Exelby of the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association. The Parks for All Vision is: Connected Canadian park lands and waters that support healthy nature and healthy people in harmony for generations to come, backed by an active, diverse parks community that cultivates shared goals, mutual respect and collective action.

 

The AGM will also feature board elections, resolutions, audited financial statements, and the draw for our raffle prizes. The fee to attend is $25.

 

AGENDA

10:30 a.m.      Welcome from the STA

 10:45 a.m.      Introduction/Members Roundtable

10:45                Presentation on the Churchill River trails and water routes by Ric Driedger of Churchill River Outfitters

11:15                 Presentation on the Parks For All initiative by Andrew Exelby of Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association

11:30                Draws for Saskatchewan Trails Raffle

11:45                LUNCH

12:45 p.m.       Call to Order

                           Approval of the Agenda

                           Approval of the Previous Meeting Minutes

                           Business Arising From the Minutes

                           President’s Report

                            Approval of Financial Statements

                            Approval of Auditor

                            Bylaw Amendments

                            Board of Directors Election

                            New Business

2 p.m. (appx)    Adjournment

 

Get Out and Experience Wintertime Trails

Get Out and Explore Wintertime Trails

Yes, we all know Saskatchewan’s winters can be chilling and we’d rather stay indoors, but that’s no reason to pack up and hibernate until the next year. Hiking season on the trails is not over as soon as the snow falls. Give winter hiking a try and push yourself beyond the boundaries of the warm couch. Activities on the trail can actually be more fun than their summer counterparts. Here are a few reasons to get outdoors this winter and soak in nature all year round!

This time of year opens up the opportunity for more exciting activities. Ever try to go cross country skiing in the summertime? It’s not a good time. Snow may be the end of many of our favorite summertime activities like cycling, but it also opens up great activities like snowshoeing, tobogganing and cross-country skiing. Not only are there new great winter activities to do on the trails, but the blissfulness of a fresh snowfall on an empty trail is a beautiful moment everyone should experience!

Secondly, we are from Saskatchewan. We should embrace the cold and see it as an opportunity for more adventures on our great lands. The cold hasn’t stopped us before and shouldn’t stop us now. Exploring the trails in the snow doesn’t have to be cold, wearing the proper gear, and layering up can keep you warm and snug. Worried about traction or depth of the snow? That’s what snowshoes and hiking poles are for. Before you knock the idea of a trek through the glorious snow globe of Saskatchewan trails, give it a shot!

Another great reason to get outside and get active on the trails this winter is for all the positive benefits both physically and mentally. Hiking in the snow can be more work, but that also means more muscle building and greater stability. Hiking in the winter actually burns more calories than hiking in the summertime. Aside from the burning of extra calories and building of muscles, the quiet and blissfulness of trails in the winter is a great way to release stress, anxiety, and enjoy nature. Being on the trails in the winter months is just more peaceful, especially with no mosquitoes to worry about!

Qu’Appelle River Run

By Russ Hodgins

Please note that before you venture out on the ice, make sure it is safe!

Many years ago, we did a canoe trip from Craven to Pasqua Lake and learned firsthand how this river brings a whole new meaning to the word “meander”. A mile as the crow flies can translate into an hour of paddling. Canoe season is over and while I have ventured out onto the river ice a few times, it has never been for any distance. A windy Saturday changed that and convinced me to drop down over the bank for a winter “canoe trip”. A bonus was the minimal snow cover, making for better travelling and much easier to spot bad spots in the ice. The current is strongest on the outside of curves, meaning that will be where the ice is thinnest. As we hugged the inside corners, the tracks showed us coyotes also follow this pattern for the most part. In their case, it probably had more to do with it being the shortest route while my inspiration came from the desire to stay dry.

A cloudy day shortly became sunny with a much appreciated rise in temperature, which necessitated placing my jacket and gloves into my pack.  St. Marks church in the distance.

A short time later, our dog gave a few “what the heck is that” barks as she rounded a bend ahead of me. I sped up to find out what unknown creature had her so hesitant, to find a cow moose which had just crossed the river and was climbing up the bank. I was able to get a few photos before it ambled off in no great hurry and was happy that our dog showed such wise restraint with an animal that size.

As the afternoon drew to a close, we were treated to a beautiful Saskatchewan sunset.

To save some time with darkness approaching, I cut up onto the bank and took a few shortcuts, bypassing large loops of the river which almost circled back to the same point. I have to say, the portages are much easier on this winter “canoe trip”.

The trip back had us back up on the road as we went by St. Marks church, now just a dark silhouette as night set in.

The river ice allowed us the chance to see the valley from a different perspective but it is a trip that has to be timed correctly to match the ice conditions. The cold weather and lack of snowfall at the time meant the ice was thicker and at any point when in doubt, we cut up onto the bank and detoured past the spot. It was an afternoon of adventure on the winding Qu’Appelle River.

Tips to Staying Warm on Winter Trails

Hitting the trails throughout winter can be a lot of fun. There are new activities like snowshoeing, it can be more peaceful, and you can even burn more calories while building more muscle. The downside of the trails being covered in snow is obviously the low temperatures. Here are a handful of tips to keep you toasty warm while trekking through the trails this winter.

Layers!

This one may seem obvious, but you have to wear layers. Layering your clothing helps to trap in warm air and keep you warm. The other benefit of layers is that if you begin to get to warm or overheat, you can easily remove a layer. Wearing a few extra layers will help to keep you warm throughout your hike on the trail and help to ensure a comfortable trip.

Head, Feet, and Hands!

You can lose a lot of heat in the wintertime through your head, feet, and hands. It makes keeping these areas warm that much more important. Wearing proper footwear, gloves and toques can ensure these areas hold in heat rather than releasing it.

Having trouble keeping your hands or feet warm? You can find little heat packs at Walmart or the Dollar Store to give you a little boost of heat on long winter hikes. Make sure to check what material your socks, gloves, and toque are made of.

Know Your Materials!

Some material is significantly better than others at staying dry, repelling water and insulating heat. For instance, wool, polyester, nylon, or synthetic materials will do a much better job of keeping you warm and dry than cotton or denim. So, skip the jeans and cotton t-shirts while layering up for your winter adventure.

Snacks and Hydration!

If you are going on a longer trail, bring plenty of water and healthy protein/carb filled snacks. Good snacks are mixed nuts, granola bars, and protein bars. Maintaining proper hydration and sustenance will ensure you have the required energy your body needs to stay warm and have high energy levels. A thermos of hot chocolate can be a great way to stay warm and have a nice treat throughout your hike.

Weather Check!

As much as hiking on a winter day can be an amazing adventure, not every day makes for a great adventure. As we all know, some Saskatchewan days can be absolutely freezing. Make sure to check the forecast and weather updates so that you don’t end up on the trails in the middle of a blizzard. Choose a day with more sunlight and less wind to help to further keep you warm and cozy on the trails.

Shoe Spikes!                 

Terrain in the winter can be icy and slippery which can lead to falls and wet clothing. An easy solution to the unknown terrain of some trails is slip on/strap on shoe/boot spikes. Shoe spikes can be found at pretty much any outdoors store, Walmart, and even sometimes at the Dollar Store. Shoes spikes allow you to traverse rougher or more slippery terrain with ease and help you to hook to the ground to avoid falls.

Get Moving!

The final tip to staying warm is to get active! Try increasing your pace or attempting some light inclines to get your blood pumping and keep you warm. Increasing your activity level will effectively ensure you stay warm.

Regardless of what it takes to stay warm, some of the most enjoyable and relaxing hikes can come from visiting the trails during the winter. Stay warm and have fun!