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.
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: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
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