Afforestation WinterCity YXE

Over the past year and a half, Jeff Hehn, the ambassador of the Fatbike Fatlanders Brigade, has been meeting with the various people and departments of the City of Saskatoon engaged in the WinterCity YXE strategy.

Currently the plans for growing the WinterCity campaign machine-groomed trails to include non-motorized recreational activities such as possibly fat bicycling, cross-country skiing, skijourning, snow shoeing, horse back riding, winter hiking, and sliding snowshoeing. Along with the trails, signage, waymarking sites, or kiosks may display maps, trail names, interpretative signage, trail etiquette, event and seasonal information.  “The trails in the forest are quite flat which makes for good winter riding and they seem to get the right number of riders to prevent significant ice.*

“Management of human use of trails in wild areas must be based on information relating trail quality to use. ~Weaver” To protect the vegetation, and environment trails are designed in the winter amidst the Caragana, creating safer trails, and also encouraging users to remain on the groomed trails, mitigating environmental damage. Education posted on social media, or upon waymarking signs during spring thaws will help to prevent damage to the trails and to the forest, ensuring trail maintenance.

“We want to create a more resilient economy outside of the summer and Christmas seasons,” said director of environmental and corporate initiatives Brenda Wallace.CBC

Eco-tourism is certainly growing, as is the City of Saskatoon. More and more folks are recognizing the health benefits of outdoor physical activity. The WinterCity YXE trails can be seen as a fantastic way to improve the quality of life for residents of Saskatoon and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park 344. Additionally, those visiting the City of Saskatoon, during the winter months would certainly be enchanted by the magnificent hoar frost and woodland scenes in this mixed woodland forest.

At this time, the main weakness of the Winter City YXE trail network in the afforestation areas is the fact that motorized vehicles still have access to a portion of the afforestation areas. Motorized vehicles are devastating to trails, and the hard work, time and effort put into grooming trails disappears in one instant if a motorized vehicle decides to go out “mudding”, pop 360s or dump trash in the forest. At this time this is the main conflict facing the success of the WinterCity YXE trail strategy at the afforestation area.  It is hoped that a solution to this dilemna may soon be found.

There is no doubt that good trails, offer to the public recreational enthusiast, skiier, bicyclist, snowshoer, or hiker features such as great views, diverse landscapes, and excellent proximity to both the urban neighbourhoods of Saskatoon, and the rural areas of the RM of Corman Park 344.

All, in all, trails increase both physical and mental health benefits, and the overall fitness of the user population. Families, and organizations have an opportunity to enjoy nature outdoors. Located in the city, trails afford an excellent means to educate visitors about the natural environment and surrounds. Very importantly, trails create both healthy and safe environments for the afforestation area, which, in turn creates peaceful, and enjoyable community awareness. Trails also afford a tourism opportunity, and indeed, does make Saskatoon a better place to live.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
– Albert Schweitzer

A humble and grateful thank you is extended to Jeff Hehn, and the Fatbike Fatlanders Brigade Fat Fun For Fine Folks (Fat Tire Club) , for their work to create a Man of Trees trail network, and to enhance tourism within the afforestation areas. It surely may be that all fat bicycling, cross-country skiing, skijourning, snow shoeing, horse back riding, winter hiking, and sliding snowshoeing enthusiasts will surely be able to appreciate and savour the heightened expression of the forest with a well-groomed and maintained trail system.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
~Anne Bradstreet


Charlton, Johathan. City Hall wants to know: How can Saskatoon be more fun in the winter?” Saskatoon Star Phoenix. January 25, 2017.

Cranbrook Community forest Trail Plan Cranbrook Community Forest Society. Draft Version 10. 1/16/2016

City of Saskatoon Council Policy C09-011 Trees on City Property.

Doyle, Sabrina. Best Canadian Cities to visit in winter. These urban centres really know how to heat up the chilly months. November 10, 2016.

Environmental Leadership | City Hall > Our Performance > Performance Dashboard > Environmental Leadership.

Feeling dreary about winter? City of Saskatoon trying to change that. New strategy designed to improve winter life, economy, accessibility, culture. CBC News. January 24, 2017

** For the Love of Winter. WinterCity Strategy Implementation Plan. The LoveofWinter-ImplementationPlan.pdf City of Edmonton. September 10, 2013.

*** For the Love of Winter Strategy for Transforming Edmonton into a World-Leading Winter City. (pdf)

Lun Liu, Hui Wang Hui Wang Hui Wang, Chunyang WuChunyang Wu. A machine learning method for the large-scale evaluation of urban visual environment. a Department of Land Economy, University Cambridge Department of Land Economy, University Cambridge School of Architecture, Tsinghua University of Architecture, Tsinghua UniversityMachine Intelligence Laboratory, Department of Engineering, University Cambridge

* Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts. Ministry of Environment. Recreation Trails Strategy for British Columbia. Phase 1: Background Report Appendix 2 Survey Results. May 2007. Province of British Columbia
Published by: British Ecological Society. DOI: 10.2307/2402226. Stable URL: Page Count: 6

PotashCorp WinterShines 2017: Saskatchewan’s Premiere Winter Festival. January 28 – February 5, 2017
Saskatoon Winter City Strategy Update – City of Saskatoon

Weaver, D. Dale and T. Trampling Effects on Vegetation of the Trail Corridors of North Rocky Mountain Forests Journal of Applied Ecology. Vol. 11, No. 2 (Aug., 1974), pp. 767-772

WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy |

WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy

WinterCityYXE Guide

WinterCityYXE interactive map

Winter Cities Shake-Up Presentation – Alternative Approaches to Fostering a Winter City in Smaller Communities January 3, 2017. Community Planning Conference Presentations.
YXE Winter City | Optimist Hill Campaign

“Your greatest gift to others is to be happy
and to radiate your happiness to the entire world.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Man of Trees winter trail network

How can we encourage more people to get outside, get active and get together over the winter months in Saskatoon?~Eric Westberg COS

In 2015, members of the Fatlanders FatTire Brigade (FFTB) discover the Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area and start to use existing trails for winter recreational snow biking. Through January to March 2016 the (FFTB) groom trails using showshoes to gauge the effectiveness of this method of making trails. The FFTB is quite enthusiastic, and wish to pursue a formal trail network in this flat land area. Several bicycle enthusiasts prefer these trails over and above the technical trails in existence along the riverbank.

FFTB submits proposal to the City of Saskatoon (COS) Open Spaces Consultants for discussion of a “Man of Trees“ winter trail network. It is noticed by the FFTB that the City of Saskatoon initiates a Winter City Strategies Initiative for the City of Saskatoon. The City of Saskatoon is currently in growing Winter City YXE and they are in the planning and development stage “to make winter in our city great!” Jeff Hehn, ambassador for the FFTB, brings to the city the FFTB proposal to embrace a winter strategy that could increase outdoor winter recreation.

The FFTB proposal suggests that the groomed winter trail network would encourage fat biking, cross-country skiing, skijourning, snow shoeing, horse back riding, winter hiking, and sliding snowshoeing recreational activities.

The “Man of the Trees” trail network, is stated to have the potential to improve winter tourism amenities for the City of Saskatoon in this proposal. An emerging recreational activity known as fat biking is on the rise. Fat bikes are specialized for winter biking and riding upon snow. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, slide snowshoeing, skijoring, hiking, and horseback riding all benefit from the grooming of a winter trail network.

As part of this winter tail network, it is imperative that motorized vehicles do not have egress to the park, as vehicles undo the work done by those actively engaged in grooming the paths. The FFTB have been in this way: actively engaged as stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area while at the same time advocating for the winter trail network.

Further to the newly installed barriers, the FFTB continue to raise money for the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Trust Fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)” to fully support the erection of gates and barriers at any areas where vehicles may enter the afforestation area. With motorized vehicles, thus restricted, there is no doubt that it is very much easier to create trails to fat bicycle in the afforestation area, and keep them well groomed.

If you are ever out in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and wonder about the newly created trails they have been the passion of Jeff Hehn and the Fatbike Fatlanders Brigade.  Consider this, is the man of the trails network an an outlier in regards to the environment issues being an observation point that is distant from other environmental observations  Or is the man of the trails network a means to observe and appreciate the flora and fauna with a healthy respect for their habitat and provides a means of proceeding with respect through the afforestation area with the least amount of impact on the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat.

Meetings have resulted in a sharing of  information and an increase of awareness between the viewpoints of  these diverse stakeholders, who share the mutual goals and desires in regards to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area to mitigate illegal trespass and the appreciation and respect of the afforestation area.

It is fantastic that the City of Saskatoon recognizes and supports two initiatives for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area; the “strategic goal of quality of life” and the “strategic goal of environmental leadership.”

The City of Saskatoon is growing, expected to reach 250,000 by 2025 and 380,000 by 2035.  It is truly an honour to know that the City of Saskatoon takes the biodiversity of this ecological area seriously.  The various stakeholders have been in contact with the City along the way regarding both the environment as well as the FatLanders Fattire Brigade pitched the Winter Trail Network – a Winter City YXE proposal.  As the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is across Cedar Villa road from Chappell Marsh Conservation Area, it is fitting and fantastic that the herds of deer, waterfowl, small mammals and amphibians are considered alongside the wetlands, native and modified woodlands and grasslands when creating human plans and recreation activities in the home and habitat of the native wildlife.

Respect of the afforestation area coupled with a due consideration of the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat, means this generation and many future generations can also enjoy and take part in various recreational capacities the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.  Without trails, humans just cannot interact with nature, however with too many trails and other forms of human intervention, nature just simply cannot interact with humans.  The wise deliberation on the ecological footprint is a wonderful recommendation at the outset of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area human development process at a time when the human footprint in the afforestation area increases exponentially.  With forethought now as to wise and considerate placement of trails and human activities in a semi-wilderness wildlife habitat, it just may be that humans and nature can peacefully co-exist now and in the future.  Wouldn’t it be a fantastic experience as it is today, that in 2035 as well, when the city reaches a population of 380,000 grandchildren and great grandchildren can see waterfowl, deer, amphibians and other wildlife within the city limits at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area without the only urban recourse of going to a zoo?  Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion here, zoos are fantastic, however, don’t you agree it is a treasure to have a preserved afforestation area affording a natural environment for human activities alongside the urban zoo.  Respect of the afforestation area coupled with a due consideration of the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat, means this generation and many future generations can also enjoy and take part in various recreational opportunities within a semi-wilderness wildlife habitat at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

…today it is the duty of every thinking being to live, and to serve not only his own day and generation, but also generations unborn by helping to restore and maintain the green glory of the forests of the earth.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

As Richard St. Barbe Baker had once the nick name “Man of the Trees” this trail network, is thus named by the FFTB. The multi-use trail network is of course open and available to those who are not men.

Giles, David. City of Saskatoon offering free winter activities Global News.

Feeling dreary about winter? City of Saskatoon trying to change that
New strategy designed to improve winter life, economy, accessibility, culture
CBC news January 2017

Things to do in Winter in Saskatoon. Tourism Saskatoon

WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy City of Saskatoon

Winte City Strategy Breakfast March 15, 2017

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page:
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Off leash dog park Valley Road Saskatoon!
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
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