By Millie Love for theWedge.LIVE
Imagine tranquil skating in a forested park–non-stop. No boards to hit, no crowds to topple over. Just peaceful, smooth sailing among snow covered trees, birds chirping and the odd deer at play.
Plowing and icing trails in parks and seasonal places offers a unique day for families and friends–and an economic boost. It’s growing in popularity.
People come out of their homes to experience these trails. Nearby towns sell more hot chocolate, meals, helmets and skates.
More importantly, it’s good use of formerly unused space.
In the little hamlet of Portland, Ontario, Skate the Lake has become world renown as the second largest speed skating oval in Canada–and it’s on a frozen lake.
B.C. is now looking for ideas from the public on its trails.
Saskatchewan just announced its skating loop in a provincial park campground. Echo Valley Provincial Park cut the ribbon last week.
Visitors to Echo Valley Provincial Park this winter can strap on their skates and soak up nature by skating through a loop in the Aspen Campground surrounded by trees and breathing in the crisp winter air.
On January 16, 2020, Echo Valley Provincial Park opened “Skate the Park,” a unique campground skating loop that will be open every Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon until mid-March.
“When we think about Saskatchewan Provincial Parks, there is more to experience than just camping,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said. “Our parks offer unique experiences for all of our Saskatchewan seasons and this opportunity to skate through a campground is one that everyone is going to want to try!”
PERFECT DATE ON VALENTINES DAY
On February 14, Valentine’s Day, “Skate the Park” will offer a truly unique evening skate with a romantic touch! All services are up and running for the occasion.
Echo Valley Provincial Park, located approximately 40 minutes North East of Regina.
SERVICES & HOURS OPEN
While the loop will be open to the public anytime, services available, such as the food truck, washrooms and the Visitor Centre to warm up in will only be available during regular office hours and on Thursday evenings (4 p.m. – 8 p.m.), Saturday afternoons (12 p.m. – 4 p.m.) and for the special events on January 18 and February 14.
“Skate the Park” aims to remain open to the public until March 19, weather permitting.
Skaters are encouraged to wear a helmet, but leave their hockey sticks at home.
This is just one of the many events being offered by Sask Parks this winter; a variety of others including a Candle-lit Ski at Moose Mountain Provincial Park and several Winter Fun Day events can be found at www.saskparks.com by clicking on Activities.
Visitors are encouraged to use #saskparks when posting photos in provincial parks this winter. A valid park vehicle entry permit is required to visit provincial parks year-round. Visitors to the skating rink can purchase a park entry permit at the Visitor Centre during the office hours mentioned above.
The purchase of a Saskatchewan Provincial Parks Annual Entry Permit is a great way to enjoy park activities and events throughout the year.