Remembering Stan Skirrow

On Saturday, December 8, our beloved Stan Skirrow passed away.

Stan was more than a longstanding member…he devoted his passion and energy into making the Waskahegan Trail and its organization what it is today.

We have long wondered how to properly honour Stan and let the world know of his accomplishments. In 2017 we nominated him for a prestigious volunteer award given by the Province (even though we knew he wouldn’t attend the awards dinner in Banff—a mandatory condition of the award). This is what we told the award committee.

For the presentation portion of the AGM that year, we invited other longstanding members to talk about their volunteer experiences with the Association. Stan was in the hospital, but members who had visited him that day brought comments on his behalf.

One way we will remember Stan is with The Waskahegan Trail Guidebook. All the trail descriptions (over 45 trail sections) is Stan’s original writing, except where we’ve had to update the directions and contact information. Open the book to any trail description and he’ll tell you the story in his warm, entertaining style.

And then there is Stan’s Bench (above), situated on a ridge overlooking the Mud Lake area valley towards Coal Lake. It is said that it was his favourite view. We surprised him with it in 2006. Plans are in the works to have a special celebration there in the spring.

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Many former and current Waskahegan members will be at Stan’s Memorial Service at 1 p.m. this Sunday, at Foster McGarvey (10011 – 114 Street) in Edmonton.

Many thanks to Karen Bell for providing the photos.

4 thoughts on “Remembering Stan Skirrow”

  1. I had the opportunity to work with Stan on many building projects over the years, the first one being the Mix Cabin construction which was my initiation to WTA. Besides Stan’s extensive work on our trail guides, he bushwhacked through hundreds of miles of rough terrain to find and mark the optimum route for each trail. Then he contacted scores of landowners to explain our aims, our ambitions and our values and to request their permission for us to cross their land. He established the basis for the co-operative relationships with landowners that we enjoy today. In the early days, he was the engine that drove the WTA and got it up to speed. I doubt if we would have a trail today if it wasn’t for Stan’s hard work and dedication.

  2. Stan was a soft spoken person and a gentle & kind man with a nice smile. I always admired his manners.
    Thank you, Stan, for your dedication to Waskahegan and for being who you were.

  3. I was saddened to hear that Stan had left the trail for good. He was the heart and soul of the
    Waskahegan Trail Association for many years. He was always kind encouraging to new hikers . He kept everyone’s spirits up on days when it was hard slogging. He knew
    the land and the landowners like no one else. Everyone trusted him for good reason as his word was his bond. I no longer hike but hiking and trail clearing with him were the highlights of my memories of the time. The world is not the same without him.

  4. A message from Gary Hnatko:
    ” I would like to pay my respects to Stan Skirrow – who, in my early time with the association as a high school student volunteer and later a paid summer student – was my way post, guide and mentor as we served to seek landowners permission and develop routes. God speed and thank you for the fond memories. “

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