At the Summerstown Trails, Tina Cairncross, in this video produced by St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School students, presents the evolution of snowshoeing.
The Friends of Glengarry Trails Association has scheduled its annual general meeting for Thursday, March 26, starting at 7 p.m. New general members and board members are welcome.
Note/update: AGM has been postponed to April 23.
Board member Patricia Kerr, in a post to the organization’s Facebook page, noted all are invited to attend the meeting, which will be held at The Georgian House Restaurant, 148 Main Street, in Alexandria.
“We invite you to consider being on the Board of Directors of this vital community organization that develops, maintains, and promotes our safe public trails system for outdoor walking, biking, and skiing trails in the Alexandria area,” Kerr added.
“Please consider this opportunity to make a difference in your community by serving as a board member. Being on the Board of Directors contributes to the broader community in so many ways, making possible a safe, public trail system near Alexandria, that supports outdoor recreation, tourism, environmental education, nature connection, and natural heritage in our local area.”
Prospective board members are asked to contact Helena at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Among items on the agenda for the AGM are a report on the new boardwalk that was installed last fall (accessible from the Lochiel Street entrance to the trails), a report on the StoryWalk Project, the annual financial report, and the annual election of Board of Directors. (Several positions are open for 1-year and 2-year terms.) There will also be a 30-minute presentation on trails of Cuba.
Current members may vote at the AGM, join committees, and stand for election as board members.
To become a member before the AGM or to renew a membership, please visit the Glengarry Trails website membership page here.
The 13 km trail network includes four trails, with access points at the west end of Lochiel Street in Alexandria, on Kenyon Dam Road, Marcoux Road, and Lakeshore Road (with parking).
Today, March 10, the Summerstown Trails announced that all trails are currently closed due to the rainy, mild weather.
Everyone is asked to stay off the trails “to avoid potential injury.” The trails have been closed for safety reasons.
Its been a full winter of activities in the Summerstown Forest. One of the last groups to have the opportunity to enjoy the trails was the outdoor education class from Glengarry District High School.
It was a perfect day and a record turnout for the Family Day festivities on Monday at the Summerstown Trails, as more than 500 people attended the event organized by the Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST).
There was not a cloud to be seen the whole day, the forest providing protection from the wind and the minus 6-7 temperatures, as the trails stayed hard enough for all to enjoy.
Though the event was scheduled to start at 10 a.m., families started arriving at 9:30 to take advantage of the free cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment on loan. The free fat bike rentals were also very popular, with many trying out this exciting new winter activity for the first time.
By 11 a.m., more than 200 people had arrived on site, and many cars were parked on the road, as the parking lot was already overflowing.
The more than 40 volunteers were kept busy throughout the day, handing out the free equipment and free food, as well as offering directions to those who were visiting the trails for the first time.
A few statistics: 25 dozen hot dogs were consumed, along with 400 homemade cookies, plus uncounted roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, maple taffy sticks, etc.
FOTST president Vic Leroux was amazed at the number of first-time visitors at the trails, even though this was the ninth annual Family Day event at the Summerstown Trails.
It was great to see so many young children cross-country skiing or snowshoeing for the first time. We even had a 3-year-old on skis, and he did great. They’re our future.Vic Leroux, FOTST president
At the end of the day, 300 free equipment rentals were made to visitors .
The trails are located on Summerstown Road (SD&G 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. Donations are accepted to offset the cost of maintaining the trails. Rental of equipment is available on weekends only. For more information, visit www.summerstowntrails.com or on the Facebook page.
– files from Jean-Pierre Tibi
The 7th annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race was held February 8, and despite the very cold temperature (it was -16 at start time), race director Gilles Parisien was very pleased with the turnout, as 42 participants took to the trails.
Worse than the cold was the trail conditions, with the fresh heavy snow that had fallen over the two previous days making it challenging going for the runners. Despite organizers packing down the 20-25 cm of fluffy snow, the trails were still soft, and the athletes had to expend a lot of energy to move forward, akin to running in sand. This, in addition to the cold, had a number of runners switch from the 7.5 km race to the shorter 4.4 km course.
With the absence of local favourite Rob Lefebvre, who had won the last three editions, Corey Turnbull, of Smith Falls took the title this year. A regular at the race himself, he finished as runner-up two years ago.
Turnbull says he enjoys running the Summerstown Trails, declaring, “I love the rolling terrain, the wooded first section, and then through the conifers. There’s a magic at Summerstown Forest that I don’t find in other forests.” He likes it here so much that he brought a pair of 15-year-old runners from the club where he coaches, and they finished 1-2 in the shorter race, well ahead of the other racers.
On the women’s side, Lisa Leskien, from Cambridge, reclaimed the title she had lost last year. Cornwall’s Caroline Samson-Bélair finished third.
For the shorter race, Ottawa’s Heather Lewis came in first, with Melissa McGrath, from Monkland, second.
After the race, an exhausted but happy McGrath exclaimed, “It’s so beautiful back there; it was worth the pain.”
This year’s race had an international flavour to it, with two participants hailing from the United States, on their way to Ottawa’s Winterlude. One of them hails from Beaumont, Texas! One wonders how much snowshoeing he does in Texas?
At the conclusion of the race, medals and prizes provided by local sponsors were handed out to the first-place finishers, and as is traditional, the rest of the prizes were drawn for amongst all the participants in the spirit of camaraderie which prevails in this sport.
– files from Jean-Pierre Tibi
The Dion race is part of a series, with participants earning points. The next event is scheduled for February 15 in Milton.
Summerstown Forest Results – 7.5 km
- 40:39 Corey Turnbull, Smiths Falls
- 44:24 Dave McMahon, Chelsea
- 46:50 Christian Bélair, Cornwall
- 49:55 Sebastian Warner, Cornwall
- 50:53 Lisa Leskien, Cambridge
- 52:04 Lise Meloche, Chelsea
- 53:00 Paul Shea, Gatineau
- 53:30 Caroline Samson-Bélair, Cornwall
- 55:39 Marc Chiarelli, Ottawa
- 56:14 Rich Balderson, Nepean
- 1:01:29 Sylvie Jacques, Ottawa
- 1:01:39 Jennifer Gareau, Williamstown
- 1:04:32 Josee Suprenant, Ottawa
- 1:06:02 Guillaume Boileau, Cote-de-Lac
- 1:08:28 Johan Stevens, Cornwall
- 1:08:29 Crissy Stevens, South Glengarry
- 1:09:04 Wendell Lafave, Williamstown
- 1:09:58 Russell Dirks, Ottawa
- 1:12:46 Mick Saunders, Stirling
- 1:13:33 Chantal Lalonde Beaudette, Cornwall
- 1:15:06 Tom Patterson, Smiths Falls
- 1:22:56 Tamara Dirks, Ottawa
- 1:22:57 Kris Jones, Port Orchard
- 1:22:58 Diana Jones, Port Orchard
Summerstown Forest Results – 4.4 km
- 23:59 Max Benda, Smiths Falls
- 23:45 Jacob McLean, Smiths Falls
- 36:42 Rafeek Mohamed, Cornwall
- 37:58 Heather Lewis, Ottawa
- 40:21 Melissa McGrath, Monkland
- 40:38 Chuck Charlton, Ottawa
- 43:11 Emily Van Koopen, Newington
- 44:30 Clare Gallant, Pakenham
- 48:54 Tasha Thompson, Cornwall
- 49:06 Patricia Coons, Ottawa
- 50:02 Lynn McCuaig, Lancaster
- 50:20 Bryan Fedor, Beaumont
- 53:45 Thomas Vo, Harrisburg
- 54:32 Linda Ford, Cornwall
- 54:33 Yvon Duval, Alexandria
- 54:53 Rose Parent, Cumberland
- 54:57 Leslie Ann Patry, Cumberland
- 55:21 Tasha Spafford, Amherstview
The snowshoe race is organized by the Friends of the Summerstown Trails. Volunteers maintain the trails throughout the winter and provide special programming and equipment rentals (weekends and holidays). Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat bike riding are all available. The Summerstown Forest is located on Summerstown Road (County Road 27), 1.6 km north of exit 804 of the 401 at Summerstown Station.
The Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST) will host their annual snowshoe race on Saturday, February 8, in the Summerstown Forest.
The Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race (7.55 km) is part of the Dion Ontario Snowshoe Running Series (held in various locations in Eastern Ontario) and will be the fourth race of the season for the eight-race series. In addition to local runners, this race attracts athletes from the Ottawa, Kingston, and Montreal areas.
Local favourite Rob Lefebvre, who lives just down the road from the Summerstown Forest and has claimed the title numerous times in the past, is sidelined this year and will not be taking part in the race.
The Ottawa region will be well represented again this year, and the organizers hope that more local runners will sign up and challenge for the title. On the women’s side, Lisa Liskien, from Cambridge, will be back, hoping to improve on her third-place finish last year, after winning the race a couple of times herself in the past.
As was the case last year, a second shorter race will be offered at the same time: the Summerstown Forest Challenge Race (4.4 km). This shorter race is designed to attract more local recreational runners and younger racers.
Participants in both races are usually split evenly between male and female runners. Dion Snowshoes will provide a limited number of racing snowshoes for rental on a first-come, first-served basis. These snowshoes can be reserved at the time of online registration.
Both races are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and will be run on the beautiful tree-covered snowshoe trail network of the Summerstown Forest. Race director Gilles Parisien, himself a snowshoe racer, declared the Summerstown Trails course to be one of the best in the race series.
To register for the race, please visit the FOTST website at www.summerstowntrails.com
Race registration is capped at a maximum of 150 competitors. Race day registration will only be available 150 hasn’t been reached by race day.
Pre-registered athletes are eligible to receive a souvenir. There will be post-race draw prizes, hot/cold snacks, and awards for top finishers. Organizers will make a donation to Beyond 21, a charity that provides support to adults with developmental disabilities, on behalf of each runner who completes the race.
– with files from Jean-Pierre Tibi
The Summerstown Trails are located on Summerstown Road (County Road 27), 1.6 km north of exit 804 of the 401 at Summerstown Station.
Through the winter, on weekends FOTST offers the rental of cross-country ski and snowshoe packages, as well as fat bikes.
For the latest conditions and more information, check out the Summerstown Trails on Facebook.
The Summerstown Trails is scheduled to host 7th Annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race on Saturday, February 8. The competition is slated to begin at 10 a.m.
Men’s and women’s divisions are offered, with two race distances: 7.55 km and 4.4 km.
Further details, along with online registration, will be available soon on the Friends of the Summerstown Trails website.
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
The Glengarry Trails offer 13 km of groomed, marked routes in North Glengarry, flanked by Island Park in Alexandria, County Road 43, the southern portion of County Road 45, and Lakeshore Road / Loch Garry.
Conditions are ideal for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Winter walking is also permitted. Five trails are now available, with the seasonal trail recently opened. Users of the green trail should note that the path is shared with the snowmobile club.
Check out the Glengarry Trails map here.
The snowfall this week has improved conditions at the Summerstown Trails, with the facility open for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat bike riding.
The official report for January 16
- skiing: main A trail groomed for skate skiing, classic skiing only on main A trail to the gravel pit and power lines in good condition
- snowshoeing: new snow over a crusty base
- fat bike: groomed and in good condition
It’s worth pointing out that trails are established for two types of cross-country skiing. Classic skiing follows parallel tracks where you move your skis in a back-and-forth motion. Skate skiing is done on a flat surface where you push in a side-to-side motion.
On weekends, the facility offers rental equipment, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rental fees must be paid in cash. Discounts are available for families of four or more, or for groups.
For rent are snowshoes, classic waxless skis with boots/poles, skate skis with boots/poles, and fat bikes with helmet.
To expedite your rental, you may want to download and complete the Rental Agreement Form ahead of time.
Learn to Ski Program
The Summerstown Trails also offers learn to ski programs, one for kids and one for adults. For details, check out the information on their website.
You can access the Summerstown Trails at 6150 County Road 27 (Summerstown Road), north of the 401 and Summerstown Station.