Collaboration Builds Community
The Crow Wing Trail Association formed in 1999 to build a section of the Trans Canada Trail from Emerson to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The trail celebrates a historical trade route, and along its 191 km doesn't utilize any abandoned rail bed like other long sections of the TCT. Having completed all the connections, the organization is shifting focus to improving the trail for a better user experience.
The section of trail we built passes through Providence College in Otterburne. The banks of the Rat River provide just enough elevation to keep a bench cut trail out of seasonal floods. For lower sections the college has stockpiles of concrete rubble and paving stones which make wonderful building materials for armouring the tread. Eventually, the trail will wind around the whole campus providing a much needed single track loop for southern Manitobans.
Most of the volunteers were avid mountain bikers, but we also had board members of the Crow Wing Trail Association, local land owners, and college staff present. All these groups stand to benefit from cooperating on this project. Mountain bikers will have a new venue for events. The Crow Wing will be greatly improved along this section and the college will have new trail infrastructure for athletic programs.
We hope everyone realizes that the Trans Canada Trail is more than a single line connecting one end of the map to the other. The nodes along that corridor are trail communities where all users enjoy an improvement in both quality of life and quality of place.