Avid birders, cross-country skiers and hikers in the southeast can rejoice as funding from the government will see new trails and enhancements to existing paths across the region in the coming months.
One area which saw investment for a new trail system was Ste Genevieve.
Ward 6 in the RM of Tache will see a $45,000, multi-use system ready by the end of October, making use of a piece of land owned by the municipality which has sat vacant for decades. Previously, the parcel served as the site of a landfill. Some treasures which survived its decommissioning will serve as markers and exhibits among the three-trail system.
Lisa Woods, recreation manager for the municipality, said residents in the area have long asked for a system in the area. The "hub and spoke" design of the Monominto hiking trail, located at the corner of Monominto Road and Highway 501, will see trails between one and three kilometers in length zigzagging through different terrains, with some overlooking marshes and quarries, before rejoining at the trailhead’s parking lot. In the winter, the trails will be groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
"We found that getting people out, especially during COVID, was really important and we had a plan that we could use to service this area," Woods said. The RM contributed 2:1 for the project, doling out $30,000 for the establishment of the area.
In other areas of the region, trails are nearing completion or have already installed upgrades within them; Blumenort in the RM of Hanover is nearing the end of construction of the Blumenort Penner South Pathway, getting $27,790 from the province for the project.
Parc Carillon in St Pierre lit up on Sept. 25 with newly installed pathway lighting, thanks to the help of $26,504 from the provincial trails grants, while Tetrault Park Trail in La Broquerie placed new lighting of their own along the pathway which saw a complete paving. The province contributed $65,000 towards the upgrades through the grant while the RM and LUD shelled out cash from their budget for the remaining costs.
The historic Crow Wing Trail got a cool $6,000 for trail maintenance while the LUD of Richer in the RM of Ste Anne used $7,000 they received to cover the gravel walking path with asphalt.
Woods said the pandemic prompted the desire for more recreation and accessible trail systems in the area as more people stayed at home. The Monominto Trail will keep recreation near Ward 6 residents and prompt them to explore their own backyard, she added.
"The beauty of it is that it’s not like a provincial park where there’s a fee associated with it, this is going to be an asset of the RM and for our residents," Woods said.