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'Bizarre this year': River Trail closed following mild winter

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The River Trail at The Forks is officially closed for the winter, marking the shortest season in history.

On Wednesday, the Forks announced that the Nestaweya River Trail is now closed following multiple closures and reopenings throughout the season.

“Last year, we were open for 72 days, and so this year, to be such a short stint of two short stints that were open, is really sad,” said Zach Peters, the marketing and communications manager with The Forks

“We’ve all sort of recognized that this weather has been bizarre this year. This warm start to winter, this freeze thaw cycle we’ve been under.”

CTV News Winnipeg previously reported that the popular trail was impacted this year by Mother Nature, including the challenges of warm temperatures, rain, snow and high water levels.

“I have to hand it to our team and our partners at The Winnipeg Foundation for navigating some really challenging and unpredictable conditions this winter – we’re already crossing our fingers for a better year next year,” said Sara Stasiuk, president and CEO of the Forks North Portage, in a news release.

The Forks noted that the trail was only open for two short stints this year -- from Jan. 25 to Jan. 30 and Feb. 13 to 17 – totalling nine full days. This is the shortest river trail season ever, excluding the winter of 2020 when it didn’t open at all. The previous shortest season was in 2017 when it was open for 33 days.

This year also marks the latest opening date for the trail on Jan. 25, and the earliest it’s ever been fully shut down.

“It has become something that we at The Forks take pride in. We know our city does, we know individuals do. The hard working River Trail crew certainly does. So year over year, to only have it grow and do it better is what we’re trying to achieve. And this year just simply wasn’t in the cards,” said Peters.

The Forks said it is no longer monitoring or maintaining any portions of the ice. Winnipeggers are being reminded to stay off the rivers.

If the weather permits, the on-land skating trails at the Winnipeg 150 Winter Park will remain open.

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