26 August, 2016

Creating Trail Tourism in Rural Saskatchewan

Wascana Trail. Photo by Daryl Mitchell

The Great Trail of Canada is the longest and grandest recreational multi-use trail in the world. And if you live in rural Saskatchewan, there’s a good chance it might just be in your municipality.

The Great Trail currently spans over 20,000 kilometres of urban, rural and wilderness trails across land and water. Every province and territory is home to its very own section of the Trail.

In Saskatchewan, the Trail currently spans just over 1,600 kilometres, and features beautiful panoramas, pedestrian bridges that are world-renowned feats of engineering, breathtaking lookouts and meandering waterways. Saskatchewan’s section of The Great Trail provides users with opportunities to behold a vast array of flora and fauna that flies in the face of any preconception one might have had about what one would expect to find in Saskatchewan.

What’s more, the majority of the Trail’s provincial route runs through rural municipalities.

Trans Canada Trail (TCT) has been working with rural municipalities across Saskatchewan to help build its tourism infrastructure, researching and adapting Trail routes to highlight points of interest and to link some of the province’s most meaningful cultural and historical sites.

TCT rerouted through the rural municipality of Douglas in order to pass by Crooked Bush Grove, offering Trail users a mystical touch to a day-hike, into a maze of majestically twisted aspen trees, a medieval atmosphere like something out of a fairy tale.

Near the village of Marcelin, TCT worked with the Green Leaf Hutterite Colony, which now allows Trail users onto their private land to witness their way of life as part of the local trail experience.

This past March, TCT President & CEO Deborah Apps spoke at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) convention, publicly thanking Saskatchewan’s rural municipalities for working with TCT to develop the Trail through their boundaries. The groundswell of support from RMs has created vital infrastructure that will benefit Saskatchewan for generations to come.

“The Great Trail in Saskatchewan gets people out of the cities, back to the land and to their roots as Canadians,” says TCT’s Trail Development Manager Kristen Gabora, who lives in Canora. “This Trail system celebrates our beautiful rural landscapes, inviting people into nature, the woods, and back to the dirt.”

Aside from providing residents and visitors alike with exciting options for affordable outdoor recreation, The Great Trail in Saskatchewan is helping to build a trail culture.

“The work TCT is doing with the local municipalities in Saskatchewan to develop Trail is simultaneously creating a kind of Trail culture, where public support is rallied around the notion that trails have amazing benefits for communities,” says Sinclair Harrison, Chairperson of TCT’s Saskatchewan Vision 2017 Trail Committee. “Trails get people active and involved in nature, and they celebrate the history and cultures of communities. And with The Great Trail, there’s the sense that we’re all connected to something really grand that will endure for generations to come.”

For more information on The Great Trail in Saskatchewan, check out our interactive map.