Changes coming to trail system at Birds Hill Provincial Park
Beth Macdonell, CTV Winnipeg
Published Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:00PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, March 18, 2017 6:03PM CST
The Manitoba parks department is looking at making significant changes to the trail system Birds Hill Provincial Park.
It prepared a Draft Trail Plan to manage the future trail system at the park and wants the public’s input.
Cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, horseback riders, hikers and cyclists all enjoy the trails at the popular outdoor destination.
The Cedar Bog Trail poses an environmental challenge. The plan calls for a boardwalk along the heavily used, wet and deteriorating trail to protect its unique ecosystem and warns without a boardwalk, the trail could be forced to close.
Closing the trail would be sad for Tony Kinal. Hiking the trail with his dog is one of his favourite pastimes.=
"Have some tea, look at the wildlife, it's just very relaxing," said Kinal from Cedar Bog Trail Saturday afternoon.
Another goal of the plan is to end conflict between snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, hikers and snowshoers.
Joanne Machado is a regular at the park and said sharing trails with snowmobilers has become a concern.
“With doing snowshoeing, I've come across the snowmobile trails, and I don't really feel safe being on them, because those machines can come pretty fast. So you can see that being an accident," she said.
The plan calls for rerouting snowmobile trails out of the park.
Snowmobilers of Manitoba executive director Yvonne Rideout said losing trails is disappointing, but riders want everyone to enjoy Birds Hill.
"We do realize that other people use the park, as well, and the safest alternative for snowmobilers and for other users. We will still have the trial linking to our trail system which is very important," Rideout said.
For hiker Judi Heppner, it's not how people are enjoying the trails that's a problem. it's the lack of signage.
The trail plan said trailheads at the park were redone in 2012, but more signs will be considered as needed, ‘including potentially adding additional signage to the Tamarak Trail and/or Lime Kiln Trail to ensure users are aware of the permitted uses of each trail.’
“All of a sudden I don't know where the trial is going, especially when the trails converge together and then you're trying to follow a trail and you don't know where to go because there isn't the signage anymore,” said Heppner.
To leave a comment about the future of trails at birds hill park, visit the Manitoba Provincial Parks website.
The deadline to submit comments is March 31, 2017.