Volunteer group keeps Ski Heritage East Trail groomed for winter enthusiasts
OTTAWA -- For Lynne Patry, cross-country skiing is the perfect way to spend a winter day.
"What I really enjoy is the peace and quiet and I love being outside," Patry said.
She visits the Ski Heritage East Trail in Ottawa’s east end two or three times a week.
"It’s just perfect, especially for skiing, the trails are just groomed perfectly."
The multi-use trail for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and walking is more then 30 kilometres long and stretches from Trim to Blair Road.
Eugene Perabo also uses the trail to ski as often as he can.
“I try to do one kilometre, maybe two kilometres, today I did five kilometres so at my age not bad,” said the 83-year-old with a laugh.
A group of volunteers maintain the trail, including Drew Deyell.
"It’s a fun thing to do in the evening and on the weekends to come out and ride a snowmobile down NCC property and groom it," Deyell said. "It’s nice to see people using it and appreciating it as well."
Deyell and a team of volunteers from Ski Heritage East spend hours a week grooming the trials with funding from the National Capital Commission, the city of Ottawa and donations from the public.
"The city and NCC committed to more money this year to help us extend the trail and do more grooming and that’s when we purchased this piece of equipment so it’s our third snowmobile,” Deyall said.
The hard work does not go unnoticed by those using the trail, which has increased substantially with the pandemic and people wanting to get outside.
"You have the choice of more than one track so if you see people coming your way you can step out, just get into another track and they’re well-groomed so they are doing a fantastic job," said Perabo.