On January 5, the Summerstown Trails officially opened the 2020 winter season, their 50th year of operations.
Dignitaries were on hand, along with close to 150 people who came out to the trails, enjoying the mild temperature and a walk on the forest trails as their was little snow cover.
Martin Bowman, the first president of the Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST), recalled the work and community spirit of the many volunteers, mostly neighbours of the Summerstown Forest, who kept the trails going for the better part of 35 years. With few resources and often using their own personal snowmobiles, these people groomed and maintained the trails, facing much adversity.
Current FOTST president Vic Leroux thanked the many partners and sponsors of the Summertown Trails, noting recent initiatives, including the addition of skate skiing and fat biking activities, new trails, new grooming equipment to better deal with the changing weather conditions, and the construction of a new parking lot adjacent to County Road 27.
The creation of FOTST 10 years ago changed the destiny of the facility, with 1000s of users now visiting the trails every year, both for winter activities and off-season visits.
In addition to making the trails accessible to the population for year-round use, FOTST offers many community programs, including hosting schoolchildren, weekend rental of equipment, and free events, such as Family Day.
The Summerstown Trails offer 18 km of groomed cross-country ski trails, for both classic and skate skiing, and a separate network of 11 km of snowshoe and groomed fat bike trails.
The trails are located on Summerstown Road (County Road 27), 1.6 km north of exit 804 of the 401 at Summerstown Station, and are open seven days a week. There is no charge to access the trails. Equipment rentals are available on weekends and holidays.
For up-to-date trail conditions, visit the FOTST Facebook page.
Among the special events planned for the season, the Summerstown Trails will host their annual snowshoe race on February 8 and activities on Family Day (February 17).
– with files from Jean-Pierre Tibi