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Riding Mountain National Park

Celebrate the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Event

On September 22, 2013, Parks Canada and its partners hosted the inaugural “Celebrate the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Event”

It was a great day with over 200 people participating in the celebration.

The day began with a Reeve’s Ravine Hike hosted by the McCreary Ski and Outdoor Club.

Later that morning the Reeve’s Ravine Trail was officially opened by: Mr. Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette; Kathy Swan, Executive Director, Parkland Tourism Association and Member of the Riding Mountain Escarpment Advisory Board; and Deron Ash, President, Manitoba Escarpment Trails Society. Mountain bikers, hikers, members of the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Advisory Board, community members and park staff also took park in the event.

Thanks to the help of many contributors, the afternoon celebration offered participants great food, Metis music, log demonstrations, a place to share stories, wagon rides, children's’ activities and a marketplace! This event reflected the essence of the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy by working together we can create great things for visitors and our neighbouring communities.

Thank You – For Your Assistance!

Hike – McCreary Ski and Outdoor Club (McCreary)
Wagon Rides – Allan Kreiser (McCreary)
Log Demonstration – Barry Tereck (Winnipeg and McCreary)
Métis Music – Christopher and Dylan Pinette and Danny Parthnay (Ste. Rose)
Childrens’ Activities – Brittaney Maguet - Ste. Rose Library
Childrens’ Facepainting – Cassandra Van Humbeck and Gaby Pelletier (Laurier)
Food - White Rabbit Cafe (Kelwood)
CKDM Radio
Escarpment of Riding Mountain Advisory Board Members
Market Place – Journey Home Artist Retreat (Waldersee), Jean Bag Lady (McCreary), Uniques and Antiques (McCreary), Vicki Lee’s Creations (Ochre River), French’s Farm and Guest House (Kelwood), Dreamweavers Art Group (Ste. Rose), Tall Spruce Farm and Woolen Creations (McCreary), Rural Municipality of Ochre River, Tucker’s Honey (McCreary), Parkland Tourism, Jody and Roxanne Tucker’s Honey (McCreary), The Shuttlebug (Onanole), and Pelks’ Preserves (Riding Mountain) and By Dora's Hand (Riding Mountain).

“Celebrate the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Event”   Photo Gallery

Communities Working Together to Improve Visitor Experiences

Opening of Reeve’s Ravine Trail and the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy Open House

Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, September 22, 2013 – On behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Mr. Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette, today celebrated the opening of the Reeve’s Ravine Trail, a new multi-use non-motorized recreation trail on the east side of Riding Mountain National Park.

“Trails inspire Canadians to get active, stay fit and see the wilderness,” said Mr. Sopuck. “This project is a fine example of community members, bike enthusiasts, First Nations and the Government of Canada working together to ensure visitors are provided with incredible opportunities to discover, experience, and learn about this beautiful escarpment area.”

Reeve’s Ravine, an 11.5-km loop trail that rises 165 meters (541 feet) from the trailhead to the summit, presents many dramatic views of the seemingly endless Manitoba lowlands spread out below. Designed with the help of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and the Manitoba Escarpment Trail Society, the trail aims to deliver quality recreational experiences and improve safety for both hikers and mountain bikers, while limiting environmental impacts.

Parks Canada also held an Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy public open house to raise awareness and celebrate the richness of the Escarpment area. Developed by Parks Canada, the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Advisory Board and community members, the goal of the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy is to work with others to provide quality visitor experiences within and adjacent to Riding Mountain National Park, as reflected in projects like the Reeve’s Ravine Trail.

Recognizing the importance of tourism in Riding Mountain National Park and surrounding areas, the Government of Canada is working closely with partners, organizations and individuals to bring life to this region: to discover, experience and learn about the escarpment area in a manner that protects it for future generations. Parks Canada highly values the passion and interest that community members demonstrated as they shared their knowledge through workshops, open houses and an online survey.

“Parks Canada has a strong record of cooperating with partners and stakeholders,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “It is leading the way in our communities in Canada, and internationally, in providing opportunities for real and inspiring experiences.”

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s historic and natural heritage is protected and, through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas, invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

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Backgrounders associated with this News Release:

Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy

Spectacular vistas, challenging terrain, rich heritage and diverse vegetation and wildlife, make the Escarpment of Riding Mountain a fascinating place for visitors and potentially one of Manitoba’s premier attractions.

The current management plan identified the need to develop an area strategy for the eastern portion of the park. This recommendation recognized the unique nature of the Escarpment of Riding Mountain, the potential for improved visitor experiences and the need to protect the area.

In the last three years, Parks Canada has worked with an Advisory Board, experts, community leaders and members to develop the Area Strategy. Parks Canada appreciates their insightful guidance, knowledge and commitment and wants to continue to work together so this Area Strategy evolves and comes to life.

The area’s geographic scope is within the park, however the area of desired influence extends beyond it. The reasoning behind this approach is twofold:

  1. Visitor experience does not stop at the park boundaries. There are many complementary experiences that exist or can be developed in the surrounding municipalities. It is our hope that area “champions” will drive actions in the areas outside the park.
  2. Parks Canada can work with others to provide services in the park to facilitate improved visitor experiences.

The Area Strategy’s goal is to ensure visitors have genuine opportunities to discover, experience and learn about the area while protecting it for future generations. By working towards its vision, objectives and actions, Parks Canada hopes visitors, stakeholders and neighbouring communities are further inspired about the park and region.

Vision - 10 to 15 years time:

  • Greater collaboration among Parks Canada, partners and stakeholders has led to increased numbers of opportunities for visitors to discover, experience and learn about the Escarpment of Riding Mountain area of the park, and beyond.
  • The number of visitors to this area of the park and beyond has increased significantly.
  • The Strategy has been a catalyst for greater collaboration among those who are responsible for this area, and those who can champion actions that lead to fulfilling this vision.

Reeve’s Ravine Trail in Riding Mountain National Park

Parks Canada invites visitors to experience Riding Mountain’s natural and accessible wilderness and take part in a one of a kind trail experience on Reeve’s Ravine. It is truly a destination experience worth the trip. The Reeve’s Ravine trail starts at the Burls and Bittersweet trailhead just north of the East Gate. The best way to enjoy Reeve’s Ravine is to take the easier slope and ride or hike up the north leg of the trail to the summit. At the top, one can gaze out from a vantage point that has not been accessible to the public before. From here, one can see deep into the microclimate of Reeve’s Ravine and out over the expanse of the great Manitoba prairie: the former lake bed of the great inland sea, Lake Agassiz. Further down the trail, there are unique bur oak tree meadows. These trees, some of which are 295 years old, show evidence of the pioneer logging industry.

By bike or on foot, the descent is technical, yet it is not a “white-knuckle” ride. This trail was designed with the help of the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), whose trail building guidelines aim to deliver quality recreational experiences and improve safety for both hikers and mountain bikers. Novice explorers will enjoy the pride of conquering Parks Canada’s newest single track trail, while experienced adventure seekers will enjoy the technical aspects of the tight and twisty, up and down sections.

IMBA guidelines also offer expert advice about how to build sustainable trails and limit environmental impacts. Their recommendations aim to reduce erosion and protect wilderness like the beautiful shale slopes of the escarpment. This also leads to lower maintenance costs as well, since a well-designed trail will not need expensive repairs after annual spring runoff or surprise summer storms.

Reeve’s Ravine Trail was built at a total cost of $15,000 with the help of the Manitoba Escarpment Trails Society (METS) and community members whose volunteers contributed hundreds of hours of labour to help build the trail. Their work was mostly done using hand tools because the trail is not accessible to mechanized equipment. With the total cost for materials coming in at less than $5,000, it is hoped that the construction of this trail will be a model for other organizations looking to work with Parks Canada.

By increasing regional tourism opportunities, the attractions and amenities that can be created through these types of partnerships will provide long term sustainable economic benefits for neighbouring communities.