GTC Report that was presented April 20, 2011 AGM
History of the Committee
- Established by the Grindstone Cottagers Association at the request of Parks so that all concerns and proposals re trails would be vetted through a committee rather than individual cottagers.
- The committee was given a mandate to look at ways and means to maintain and improve existing trails and to explore and propose the development of new trails for Grindstone.
- The Committee was to meet with Parks Staff on issues related to trails.
- The Committee was to report on its activities to the Association and the cottagers on an ongoing basis. To fulfill this requirement members of the executive are on the Committee, reports are made through the gazette and at the AGM. Minutes are also kept of all meetings.
- The GTC had its first meeting on February 20, 2008. The Committee since its formation, met 20 times plus 5 times with Parks Staff, and once with the Minister of Conservation
History of Trails in Grindstone
- Grindstone was designated as a recreational park. An extensive snowmobile trail system was in the Park’s plans but it never materialized. (1986) The Muriel Lake Trail is the old logging trail which is mainly used by hunters and it is exclusively maintained by hunters, snowmobilers and ATVers.
- The trails in the development were mainly built by cottagers and were exclusively maintained by cottagers; mainly snowmobilers and ATVers. Parks built the bridges, and on a cost sharing basis with the Association, put some gravel on some of the trails.
- In the mid 80’s several cottagers proposed that walking trails be developed between the lake and existing lake-front cottages. This was debated at the subsequent AGM and the proposal was soundly defeated.
- In 2002 Parks built a snowmobile trail from the Hecla Trail to Washow Bay. This was designated as a Snoman Trail and it connected to the Riverton Pine Dock Trails.
- The Park’s Administrator of the day proposed that a trail from Blacks Point should be built through the bush to connect to the Muriel Lake Trail. A bush trail would extend the snowmobiling season and keep sledders off the lake until the ice is safe. Also the existing trails are close to cottages at South Beach and Island View. The proposal was never implemented.
- All trails in Grindstone were multiuse. Motorized vehicles were allowed on the trails from October 15 – May 15.
- In 2005 barriers were installed and all trails were off limits for motorized vehicles with the exception of the Muriel Lake Trail. As a result, the trails were not maintained and fallen trees and debris made most of the trails impassable. In winter the trails were not packed by snowmobiles and as a result the trails were not used by walkers or skiers. In the fall of 2008 parks authorized the removal of the barriers and once again a group of volunteers cleared, packed and groomed the trails.
- When White Sands was developed, Willow Trail was destroyed. Willow Trail was developed by cottagers. Willow Trail was on high terrain and was ideal for walking, skiing, biking, snowmobiling, and ATVing. In lieu of Willow Trail, Wolf Kill Trail and the trail west of the existing trails were developed. These trails are in swampy terrain and are not suitable for walking, biking, and ATVing. Furthermore, these trails were closed to snowmobiles and ATVs.
Goals of the Trail Committee
- In an ideal situation all trails should be segregated and designated for specific use. However, that is not feasible in Grindstone as Parks does not maintain them and there are not enough volunteers to maintain segregated trails. Therefore it is essential that trails are multiuse.
- To maintain and improve existing trails.
- To develop new trails which will provide safe access to the warming shelter on Mile Ten and to Muriel Lake before the lake freezes and is safe to use.
- To develop a protocol for safe and ethical use of trails for all users; respecting the historical use and development of trails in Grindstone.
- To develop an education component for safe and courteous use of trails.
- To develop new trails to compensate for the loss of Willow Trail.
- To work cooperatively with Parks Staff to insure that the recreational needs and aspirations of all cottagers are met and that the environmental concerns are considered.
- To revitalize the snowmobile trail that was in the1986 Park’s plans.
Activities of the Committee since the last AGM
- Cleared and maintained existing trails.
- Groomed all trails in the development so that they were usable for walkers and skiers.
- Coordinated the 2010 silent auction. Committee members will also assist with the 2011 silent auction.
- Negotiated with Parks to develop a multiuse trail around the pits by the old dump on the west side of the road. This will be a priority. A few benches will be built and placed on the trail.
- Improve existing trails by adding gravel. Most of the trails require additional gravel.
- Met with Interlake Snotrackers to explore options for grooming Washow Bay Trail and joining to the Riverton, Arborg, and Fisher Branch trail.
- The shed was stained and an outhouse was built for the shed site.
- Met with Park’s staff to lobby for trails; four meetings.
- Met with the Minister of Conservation, the Honorable Bill Blaikie to lobby for additional trails. As a result, we have been given permission to:
- Mark a walking, skiing, snowmobile trail across from the store by the pits
- Mark a snowmobile trail from Black’s Point to Mile Ten
- Mark a snowmobile trail from Black’s Point to the gravel pits
- Explore a walking trail from Little Grindstone Beach north towards Big Grindstone Point. This trail would be along the lake.
Parks and the Minister’s Office have indicated that the ATV trails in Grindstone will be in
the area from the gravel pits to Muriel Lake.
Cottagers who bought snow passes were disappointed that Parks did not groom the trail to Washow Bay. Volunteers cleared all the fallen trees and packed the trail for the groomer. This is the only trail on Grindstone that Parks normally grooms. This trail has been groomed every year since it was developed. This trail is not only used by cottagers, it is used by snowmobilers coming from Hecla and going to the Arborg, Riverton and Fisher Branch trails.
If the work that has been started is to continue, more volunteers are required. If anyone is interested to be on the Committee or help in anyway, contact one of the present committee members. This year very little has been done on the trails because the fall was wet and with the early and heavy snowfall it was almost impossible to do any marking. Gil is the coordinator of trail projects. However, another coordinator is required as people are away and don’t always come to the cottage. Work on the trails can be done by anyone. However, it is more productive and enjoyable if more people are working together.
There are actually four trails that need to be marked and cleared:
- Trail from Blacks Point to Mile Ten, the warming shed
- Trail around the ponds across from the store on the west side of the main road
- Trail from the pond trail to the gravel pits and the Muriel Lake Trail
- Trail from Little Grindstone Beach along the lake north towards Big Grindstone
If these projects are to come to fruition, this will entail a lot of coordination and work. It was suggested that separate crews take on each of the phases. Each phase should have a coordinator and volunteers to work on that specific phase. That does not preclude the same volunteers from working on more than one phase.
PLEASE NOTE THAT BEFORE ANY WORK CAN BEGIN APPROVAL MUST BE OBTAINED FROM PARKS.
If anyone can think of any other ideas on how we can accomplish this goal, contact any committee member and share your ideas.
Bob – 378-2902, 694-2879
Gil – 378-5787, 955-1261
Rob – 378-2637, 1-800-318-7488
Dieter – 378-5401, 669-5846
Joe – 378-2885, 918-1743
Gary – 378-2244, 1800-318-7484
Rob J – 797-4225
Rainer – 378-2548/669-9160
On behalf of the GTC I would like to thank the volunteers, the Riverton Parks Staff, and all the cottagers for their help and support. Also thanks to the GCOA for giving the proceeds from the silent auction for the past two years to the Committee.
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