Trail Care Event: Pêmiska Tourism, Saskatchewan
June 4, 2022
Planned to coincide with International Trails Day on June 4, 2022, Pêmiska Tourism used the Trail Care Grant Program to install Trans Canada Trail signage and clear deadfall along the ᐯᒥᐢᑲ Pêmiska Trails. A portion of the funds were used to commission cultural performers to demonstrate the varied experiences visitors can expect when on their trails.
The June 4 Trail Care event was supported by 15 volunteers who organized the activities and welcomed participants.
This Trail Care Grant Program funding supports cultural revitalization, holistic healing and mental health. Pêmiska Tourism is positively impacting physical and mental health in its community for both community members and visitors, by encouraging community members to get outside and be active and ensuring that the Trans Canada Trail is in good condition.
A true team effort
As recipients of the Trail Care Grant Program, Pêmiska Tourism’s creation of a Trail Care event engaged volunteers by showing them that their efforts bring tangible benefits to community members, from improving mental and physical health in the community to demonstrating the beauty of the region to visitors.
Staff members were also engaged, with several people providing the use of their own equipment like generators, drills, saws and more to support the day’s activities. Trans Canada Trail’s Kristen Gabora, Director, Trail Development & Volunteers, and Mathieu Roy, VP, Chief Trails Experience Officer, attended the Trail Care event. The event’s generous sponsor, Columbia Sportswear, provided T-shirts for the event.
The day’s events included an opening at the site where the first shot was fired in the Battle of Batoche in 1885; a performance by the Creeland Dancers, which included a dance lesson; drumming, First Nations dancing and musical performances; an orienteering activity and a lovely dinner.
“Overall, the day was amazing. I laughed and cried, learned and then learned some more – there is so much history here,” says Kristen Gabora. “The dancing and singing were so beautiful, and the costumes were incredible. Hearing stories out on the Trail while standing on the very spot something significant happened … I got shivers!”
Project lead Kevin Seesequasis describes the impact of the Trans Canada Trail on the community: “Our tourism efforts are significantly enhanced by the presence of the Trans Canada Trail in our community. It is a tangible link to our history, to our Kichiota partners at Wanuskewin and in Whitecap, and will enable us to provide multi-day activities for visitors, which will stimulate the economy, enhance physical and mental health, and provide a critical element to reconciliation efforts.”
Kevin Seesequasis is the Community and Tourism Development Officer with Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation. Kevin oversees all tourism development and initiatives in the community and has been with the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation for over 10 years. Pêmiska Tourism is a brand-new tourism entity in Saskatchewan—it’s the only tourism body in the Duck Lake, Beardy’s & Okemasis’ region.