The STA held its 2017 AGM on March 25 at the Home Inn & Suites Saskatoon South. There was a great turnout to the event and some productive discussions about issues facing trail builders, administrators and users in the province.
Here is a look at the three of the presentations that took place as part of the AGM:
Keith Bossaer, Oasis Insurance – The Right Insurance for Trail Administrators: Keith indicated that general liability is the core insurance for most organizations. Once you get that in place, you will usually require directors and officers (D&O) insurance. D&O insurance is important because once you are on a board, you become personally liable.
Keith indicated that Oasis Insurance can assist small organizations including bike clubs to get started. Prices are typically on a member based system. There are instances in other provinces when everyone gets named in a lawsuit such as ATV clubs, snowmobiles, trail operators, etc. It can be years before these clubs can be removed from the lawsuit. Oasis also does insurance for special events. Be aware that all policies will have a liquor exemption so it is not included as part of their regular policy. Oasis needs to add liquor as part of the insurance. There may be additional insured if the municipalities want to be covered for a race or run.Some clubs may need property insurance if they have a club house and also need the contents covered. Policies are done on a case-by-case basis.
Placing signage on bridges and other difficult spots on a trail can help mitigate your liability. Trailheads are also good for signage. If there is a problem with the trail you should identify it and place barrier around it as well. For groups that do walks and runs, they should ask the trail operator to be an additional insured.
Ryan Goolevitch, STA Secretary – OpenStreet Mapping: There is a need to develop more GPS maps. Most maps that the STA currently has on file are PDFs. OpenStreet map is like a Google map where you can see information, but all of the data has been contributed by people contributing the information. This is an open model that anyone can use.
You can update information right away on OpenStreet map. Google maps are not updated as quickly in this manner. There can be a lot more detail in just a few minutes, and anyone can be an editor. Mistakes can also be undone. It takes a person to create and input the data to create a base map. That information usually originates from free sources. Trail users should try to GPS your track logs and insert them into the map.
The software is available on many devices and you do not have to pay for updates. You can use aerial imagery tracing from places like Bing and upload the files. You can also take notes and record your trip on a phone app. When you upload it, it will automatically place it in the map according to GPS coordinates.
Kyla Tulloch, U of R student – Rails to Trails Conversion Guide: The Rails to Trails Conversion Guide consists of three components: the framework, additional resources, and case studies. It contains 11 chapters and there is considerable information based upon the Rails Trails Conservancy. There are also excerpts from the case studies.
The guide has been written in a roughly chronological fashion to follow once a rail line has been scheduled for abandonment. There are additional resources throughout the document such as government websites, the National Trust of Canada, and various funding options.
Meadow Lake Pedestrian Trails: This trail project is led by the local In Motion steering committee and Flying Dust First Nation. They held a symposium to develop guiding principles and pathway. This led to a discussion on environmental remediation and costs. The complexity of the project makes it difficult to get volunteers. A visual aid was eventually developed that helped promote the project.
17th Street Greenway in Saskatoon: Residents were concerned about the deteriorating coordinator and approached the city. An open house was held to determine the best approach, which was later implemented.
Leader: This rail line was abandoned about 30 years ago and became used by land owners. Many were opposed to a trail since they had access to their land on the corridor. CN removed the bridges for liability reasons, which would later become an issue for development.
Regina Beach: A local landscape architect looked at creating a linear park in the Regina Beach area. There were a number of communities that would be linked. Regina Beach was most receptive. CN removed the culverts which created some problems. The project was successful in terms of usage.