Twenty years ago I made the greatest investment so far in my life. I purchased a season pass to Birds Hill Park and have been doing so ever since, except for the past two years when there was free admission to the park.
In the warmer months, me and my cronies lace up our in-line skates to travel around the park. During the winter, we cross country ski.
It’s gratifying to see young moms roller blading, running and cycling, sometimes pushing or pulling a high tech baby carriage with their youngsters happily enclosed. I call these conveyances high tech as, unlike conventional carriages, they are built to run smoothly and easily on large wheels. In the winter the wheels on these conveyances can be removed and replaced with skis. What a great start in life for kids.
I should point out that it’s not just women but whole families that are involved in these activities. However the young mothers stand out particularly on week days in the summer when their spouses are at work. Either these women after having a child have not gone back into the work force or they have the day off. Why get a baby sitter when baby can participate?
In winter I have observed entire families skiing at Birds Hill. They often tow their smaller kids in carriages adapted for skis with the older children skiing along. They ski up to the warm-up shack, build a fire, roast wieners and along with cocoa and cookies have a fine picnic.
It may be a good deal of work for the parents, but it’s also very rewarding — not only for the family, but for the rest of us as well. I only wish those individuals sitting at home grousing about how there’s nothing to do could see and appreciate what this kind of lifestyle can do for them.
Though I do most of my skating and skiing at Birds Hill, I have over the years made use of most of the other parks, rinks, and trails where I have observed all of the aforementioned activities taking place. It’s encouraging to see families getting out and participating in good clean healthy recreation.
Starting this spring the province will once again start charging on a daily basis for a yearly pass to Birds Hill, which is good for entrance to all Manitoba parks. Whatever kind of activity you choose participate in, a park pass may be the best investment you ever make.
Ron Buffie is a Winnipeg-based writer.
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