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were Grade 12 students who knew how to use the shop equipment and they were eager to do it. uses that groomer it works much like a carpenter hand plane attached to the back of his snowmobile to maintain Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White the trails.

It a good thing for local cross country ski enthusiasts that Rick Watts chose to move back to Thessalon.

found a YouTube video on building a groomer, showed it the students and asked if they wanted to build one, Watts said.

While the trails are in decent shape now, Watts would still like to see some sections widened. There are also areas that could be smoother. He like to find an old farm tractor to put a box scraper on. In fact, anyone wanting to get involved with upkeep of the trails is invited to join Watts.

a small grant from the town.

had an aerial map of the property and pointed out where the trails went, Watts said.

not looking for glory, he says. just like being outside. who was a tech teacher at Central Algoma Secondary School (CASS) until last year, recalls the day several years ago when area resident Angie Gallop asked if he could reopen the trails that had been started years earlier by former schoolteachers Ruth Juhola and Linda Torgerson.

Volunteers and donations have always been an important part of getting the trails to where they are. Watts attributes credit, not only to landowners, but also to local businesses such as Fluke Tim BR Mart and Midway Lumber Mills Ltd., which have donated materials for such trail needs as bridges and outhouses.

was always hard to get gangs out for brushing and trail maintenance and I used to try get them to do it before the snow fell, King recalls.

He confides he sure there are a few guys out there with a bit of time and maybe an ATV or a chain saw they like to use a little more. They have plenty of opportunity. Much like King recommended in previous years, maintenance on the trails is done during summer. Watts also goes out with a brush mower in the fall to cut down brush which can grow to over three feet each year.

was a fairly light machine, King recalls. got stuck a lot of times but I don think I ever had to walk out. trail did and still does start next to the Stewart farm field at what is referred to as the main gate. It an area that was also the start of the local snowmobile trail. Shortly after the start, the ski trail branched off away from the snowmobile trail. King says the area had been logged since the original trails were operational so much of the section had to be redone.

Happy Trails

always something you can do, he says.

Watts, who lived in Thessalon with his parents from when he was in Grade 3 until after high school, is quick to say he didn start the trails, nor does he feel he single handedly responsible for them.

Skiers are invited to try the trails for free the first time and skiers from other communities are also invited to come and try the trails for a day.

Now that the group falls officially under the Town of Thessalon umbrella, passes are sold at the municipal office. Operational expenses are covered through the sale of passes and through Toddler Converse High Tops Red

why I do it, he says. I enjoy it, too. Gallop had first asked him Converse Shoes Lace

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

about opening the trails, Watts went to visit the late Heard Stewart to find out about the original trail.

Though he a bit modest about it and he not even a skier his return to the area means that this retired teacher has devoted countless volunteer hours to reopening and keeping up the local ski trails.

Watts also had some assistance in relocating original trails from former trail groomer Grant King. Though King isn sure of the exact dates the original trail was in use, he remembers when it was started back in the 1980s.

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built by his former CASS students, many of whom were also instrumental in opening the trails a few years ago in exchange for community service hours.

that I tried to find the original trails literally by walking and flagging. of the six kilometre trail is on the Stewart family property and, for that reason, it been aptly named Stewart Highlands Ski Trail System. Today, those trails are in what local skiers call shape. works regularly with a groomer Converse High Tops Mirage Grey

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

know about when it was because I know what machine I used to groom, he says.

That machine was a 1984 292 10cc Skidoo.

were lots of deadfalls. Marc Carroll and I just started walking with chain saws, cutting enough to be able to get an ATV through. The others came behind throwing what we cut off the trails. for why that one day grew into more days, Watts admits he hates to see anything unfinished.

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

Further up Highway 17, there a parking area and another gate that also once led to snowmobile trails. Now that those trails are no longer used, it was easy for the skiers to take over use of these sections.

As for the ski club itself, Watts is happy to see membership grow each year. It a change from a few years ago when very small membership fees were simply paid at his partner Kathy hair salon and kept in an envelope and then used to cover costs such as fuel for grooming.

Though snow conditions haven always been good, Watts says they are great so far this year. It doesn hurt the trails to have more people skiing either.

Werner, who moved back to the area after 30 years in southern Ontario, was hired by the town for the newly created two year contract position a few months ago. A certified event planner, Werner was previously manager of events for the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights.

Today, the system has trails with names such as Torgerson Trail, Heard Hike, Erickson Trail and Juhola Jaunt, in honour of some of the original members of the ski club. King suspects there were about 20 active users in those early days.

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

Heidi Werner, Recreation coordinator for the Town of Thessalon, hopes to get a system implemented that will allow one time skiers to leave donations in a box when they use the trails without having purchased a season pass.

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

Converse Dainty Mid Trainers White

The trails hadn been used for a number of years and Watts told Gallop, give you one day. a conversation he laughs about now as he reflects back. The first day he and a group of volunteers, many who were interested in skiing and others who just wanted to help, went out to the starting gate of the old trail.

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