Interpretive trail update 2014

Interpretive Trail update, May 7, 2014

The interpretive trail project was identified by cottagers at our AGM in 2012 as part of our Strategic Planning process and a committee was struck to do preliminary work.  We soon discovered that the cost of the trail could be around $20,000.  Not to be discouraged, the committee hired Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery to prepare an outline of what would be involved in the project.

In August of 2012 there was an open invitation to all cottagers to come and walk the Black’s Point loop trail to see if it would be suitable to become our interpretive trail.  This trail is a relatively short, loop trail that was developed in the late 1980’s by volunteers in Grindstone in cooperation with Parks Branch.  A template for the trail was developed, showing the educational component, and the committee was left to plan how we could succeed with this project.
We learned of the Manitoba Hydro Forest Enhancement grants.  Grants are given to projects that might enhance the knowledge of Manitoba forests, their importance to our ecosystem and the value of replanting or protecting them.  The Board decided that we would raise funds for the trail   through our silent auction. Approximately $10,000 was raised in two years of auctions – with thanks given to all those who donated prizes/money and to those who enjoy the event as a highlight of Grindstone Days – a chance to win wonderful prizes.

a) Our first application to the forest enhancement program was turned down.  We’d asked for a full grant and we didn’t have partners on the project. The Board decided that we couldn’t proceed with the IT unless we received some funding – it was too costly so we had to find partners and reapply for the grant.

b) In January of 2014 we learned that our second application was successful!  Manitoba Hydro is contributing $11,000 to the project, Conservation is providing approximately $2,500 and the GCOA is providing almost $8,000.  The committee received quotes from 3 firms for the project.  Second Nature was the least expensive of the three quotes and due to Dr. Heather Hinam’s familiarity with the location, she is able to produce signs that are specific to our area and history.

c) Where are we at this moment?  The Trail Head sign is ready for printing and the thumbnail outlines of the 6 trail signs were shown at our AGM in April. The official opening of our trail is tentatively set for the August long weekend, 2014 – two years after our first walk around the trail, the project will be completed!  We will have a trail that will enhance enjoyment of outdoor life at Grindstone through education and physical activity! The trail will proved a wonderful opportunity for children of all ages to walk, run or cycle through a Manitoba forest and learn about the outdoors.

If anyone has suggestions on special projects that the GCOA could undertake to enhance our cottage area, please don’t hesitate to contact any Board member. Our contact information is listed in every Gazette.  We’d love to hear your ideas!

To those who contribute to the Silent Auction each year…your efforts are appreciated very much.  Don’t hesitate to call a Board member if you have any concerns or ideas about how the funds can be spent.

There will be a silent auction again this year.  It is a fun event that brings cottagers together to celebrate our cottage life and provides funds for the GCOA to plan special projects to enhance our park.  What will our next project be?  I don’t know.  The Board will be looking back at our strategic plans to see if there were other ideas we can consider.  If anyone has an idea to send our way, the Board would look into them.   We are looking into expanding geocaching in our park.   This is a fun activity for individuals as well as families. There is very little cost to hide these caches and the Board would like people interested in helping with this project to call anyone of us.

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