The South Whiteshell Trail Association (SWTA) is excited to announce their annual music festival will be bigger and better than ever!
The 2015 Trail Fest will be on Sunday, September 6th! Come on down to the Falcon Ridge Ski Slopes for an afternoon hike or bike followed by live music, live art, kid’s activities, BBQ, and beer gardens. There will be a modest cover charge of $10/adult, $5/child, or pay as you can. The festivities will begin at 3:00 p.m. with a group bike or hike on trails of various lengths, all starting at the ski chalet parking lot and returning to the ski chalet. At 4:00 the outdoor beer gardens will open, kid’s activities will kick off, and Chrissy Sie-Merritt of South Moon Studios will begin a live art demonstration inside the chalet. Watch an artist in action, create wonder on canvas. (www.southmoonarts.com for a preview) At 5:00 p.m. multiple BBQ’s will heat up and there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie options available for purchase. There will also be homemade salads and desserts prepared by local residents. At 6:00 p.m. local musicians will take the stage. Some of the acts that have offered to entertain us so far are Dave Barchyn, Doug Edmond, Bill Hamilton, and more. If it is a little drier weather than last year, we hope to have an outdoor bonfire in the evening. Forget about closing up the cabin for the summer on the September long weekend and come celebrate with SWTA instead! Arrive at your convenient time. All proceeds from this event will go towards trail development and maintenance.
This summer, SWTA is busy with multiple projects on the go. Construction continues on the Lost Lake Trail. This approximately 6 km stretch of hiking grade trail has been divided into two parts. Phase one stretches from Block 17 on West Hawk Lake to the junction of PTH 312 and the Big Island Landing Road, where it then meets with the existing connector trail leading to the Mantario trailhead. It’s a beautiful, rugged hiking trail with vistas of both Lost and Caddy Lakes. We expect the completion of Phase 1 during the summer of 2015. Lost Lake – Phase 2 will connect the TransCanada Trail along PTH 44 near Howe Bay to the Phase 1 link at Block 17, again crossing rugged terrain with vistas of West Hawk Lake and travelling through varied ecosystems. Construction of phase two should be underway in early July with expected completion in early 2016. This trail is a very exciting addition to the SWTA fleet because completion of this final section of trail will create an interconnected system of multi-use trails throughout the South Whiteshell area.
The South Whiteshell Trail Association (SWTA) is an eclectic group of volunteer locals and cottagers who are dedicated to the planning, building, and maintenance of the amazing trails that the Whiteshell Provincial Park has become famous for. Since their inception, 19 years ago, SWTA has collaborated with organizations such as the TransCanada Trail, Trails Manitoba, and Manitoba Conservation to build over 100 km of trails in the Falcon, West Hawk, and Caddy Lake areas. All of the great work done by SWTA depends upon volunteer efforts, donations, grants, and fundraising.
One of SWTA’s biggest maintenance problems is caused by heavy rainfall which can cause erosion of the trail bed on downward slopes. In some situations we have had to relocate the trail and build less steep sections. However, this is not practical in most locations. This year we are experimenting with open top drains which are also known as box culverts to see if they can be a more permanent solution. The first location will be on the trail near block 6 on the north shore of Falcon Lake. We will have 2 box culverts in place there. They are typically placed at a 30 degree angle to the direction of traffic and will have grates to prevent people from catching their bike tires. People will notice a slight bump when they cross the culvert on a bike. If successful we hope to install these in more locations. Your comments are welcomed.
The SWTA has also been exploring opportunities to link other existing trail networks in the area with designated South Whiteshell trails. Some examples include the “Blue Highway” mountain bike trail network near McGillivray Falls as well as the hiking and mountain biking trails located at Falcon Trails Resort. By linking these trail networks, SWTA hopes to see increased consistency in signage and mapping, making navigation and trip planning easier for visiting tourists, cottagers, and locals.
Recently, SWTA has begun to focus more of their efforts on better signing of the trails that have been built. The old trail-head sign located at the Nite Hawk Cafe in the townsite of West Hawk Lake, has been replaced with a beautiful crafted sign by Lake Life Signs & Accessories. In addition to this, designs have been finalized for putting up distance markers and signage along the entire section of trail that stretches from West Hawk Lake, past Falcon Lake, all the way to High Lake. The group has also been working on getting an updated map of all their trails. Look for it soon!
On June 6th, SWTA hosted a group ride and potluck picnic along the new South Shore Trail in recognition of International Trails Day. A crew of folks came out to enjoy the day hiking and biking together and most managed to avoid the incredible downpour that came later in the afternoon. Some welcomed it!
Mark your calendars for Trail Fest 2015, 3:00pm…. on September 6th, at Falcon Ridge Ski Hill. We will have a program of creative activities for all ages, food and great entertainment, all in celebration of our beautiful trails.
=– By Caleigh Christie & Gary Turnbull. Photos courtesy of Maureen Barchyn.