How many Canadian centennial projects do you know that are still alive?
Most I know have disappeared. A few left a residue.
In 1967, when ideas for centennial projects were popping up all over, Fred Dorward had the idea to make a hiking trail around Edmonton. With lots of encouragement, support, and dedicated people, the project evolved into the Waskahegan Trail.
By most measures, it’s a success. The trail has grown to over 300 km, with two thirds on private land…and supported by an active membership.
But at 100 members, we’re small when you consider the value of the trail and the size of our region. Whenever outsiders stumble upon our remarkable and unique resource, they wonder why they haven’t heard of us before.
That’s about to change.
Canada’s 150th is Our 50th
The celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary is a time for individuals and groups to discover our country and define our future. As an original centennial project, we have a special place in the celebration.
This, our Golden Jubilee year, is our moment to tell Canada that we’re still here.
We might join in on the Canada 150 project and tell our amazing stories while we still have the members who can tell them. Stories such as the bridge that volunteers built over a navigable river (done over 4 years, mostly in winter)…or the “beyond” event that involved gathering 96 landowner permissions.
We could take this time to recognize and acknowledge the people who keep the trail going today, such as the landowners (including the farmer who invites us to get close to her alpacas)…the work parties who clear the brush and mark the trails…and the Sunday hikers who point out the cacti in bloom and the ripe Saskatoon berries, and help us take amazing photographs.
We can have new events that reach out to people with special interests, like naturalists…or artists.
These are just a few of the ways that we can help the residents in this region discover that the Waskahegan Trail is worth taking time for, and worth their membership and support.
There’s never been a better time for us to show off and reach out to new people. We have a bright new website that’s serving us well. Our online registration and payment system has made it super-easy for new members to join. And we’ve adopted new approaches to make sure our volunteers are recognized, appreciated, and having fun.
We are so ready for this Golden Jubilee. And we would be thrilled if you could join us in making it happen.
If you have some thoughts, or would just like to keep informed of the plans as they develop, let us know by commenting below.
Our dream is that we’ll still be going strong over the next 50 years. Don’t we all want to be able to sit on Stan’s Bench with a young person and say “This will be here for your grandchildren.”