Tag Archives: Summerstown Forest

Winter preparations at Summerstown Trails include new XC ski racing course for HS students

A new program offering is planned for this winter at the Summerstown Trails, as the facility is launching the Summerstown Coyote Nordiq Club, a cross-country ski program for high school students who wish to train for XC ski racing.

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FOTST graphic


The program’s cost is set at $62, and rental equipment (if needed, limited availability) is available for an additional $50 for the season.

Dryland training is scheduled to begin November 14, so interested teens should register early.

You can access more information and sign up here.

Support the Trails

Programming in the Summerstown Forest and maintenance of the trails are provided by volunteers from the Friends of the Summerstown Trails. The group is looking for your support to be able to continue to provide these services.

The current membership year runs from November 1, 2020, through October 31, 2021.

Membership options include individual, couple, and family, and there is also an opportunity to become a patron of the trails. Details can be found on the FOTST website here.

Amongst the recent activities that volunteers have completed in the annual trails cleanup, which this year saw 32 individuals brave -4℃ conditions to prepare the 20 km of trails for a winter season of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat bikes.

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map of Summerstown Trails (FOTST)
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Summerstown Trails currently closed due to rain

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.

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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.

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Record attendance for Family Day activities at Summerstown Trails

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.

Summerstown Trail
FOTST volunteer Lorraine Clarke, helps one of the youngsters trying cross-country skiing for the first time, on Family Day at the Summerstown Trails. (Jean-Pierre Tibi photo)


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.

Summerstown Trails
Trails neighbour Allistair MacDonell (Summer-Glen Maple Products) and Trish Tibi serve up maple taffy, at the Family Day festivities at the Summerstown Trails. (Jean-Pierre Tibi photo)

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

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Frigid weather, fresh snowpack greet snowshoers at annual race

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.

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Saturday will see snowshoe race in Summerstown Forest

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.

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Snowshoe racers at the mass start of the 2019 event in the Summerstown Forest. (FOTST photo)

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

Summerstown Trails

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.

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Snowshoe race set for February 8 in Summerstown Forest

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.

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