Here’s a sneak peak at Echo Valley Provincial Park’s 2 kilometre skating trail

Echo Valley Provincial Park’s “Skate the Park” skating trail is open, and this year the track has doubled in size.

On the edge of the Qu’Appelle Valley, winter enthusiasts can now lace up for a meandering, two kilometre skate through the Park’s Aspen Campground.

A Saskatchewan Parks spokesperson said the attraction’s popularity in its inaugural year prompted the expansion.

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Saskatchewan Parks Regional Director Beck Hoehn told Global News the campground’s picnic benches and fire pits will be open for use as well, and encouraged families to make a day of their experience with a picnic.
Saskatchewan Parks Regional Director Beck Hoehn told Global News the campground’s picnic benches and fire pits will be open for use as well, and encouraged families to make a day of their experience with a picnic.Justin Bukoski / Global News

“It was such a resounding success last year that we decided to double the size. So we’ve added a loop,” said Becky Hoehn, Saskatchewan Parks Southeast regional director.

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“It’s twice as big as it was last year!”

The trail, which forms a rough figure-eight, was created with a zamboni along the campground road.

Organizers are asking people to consider skating at times they might not normally do so at in order to prevent the attraction from becoming overcrowded.
Organizers are asking people to consider skating at times they might not normally do so at in order to prevent the attraction from becoming overcrowded.Justin Bukoski / Global News

Hoehn says several safety protocols were put in place this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

These include a 30-vehicle limit in the skating trail parking lot, multiple trail access points and one-way skating.

“We expect people to take responsibility for themselves and stay within their family units, and not be in groups larger than 10,” she said. “And we’ve got lot of signs up to remind them of all those protocols.”

Read more: Looking for winter activities during COVID-19? Here’s what you should know

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The trail will be lit up in the evenings by both the campground road street lights and colourful lights strung up in trees.
The trail will be lit up in the evenings by both the campground road street lights and colourful lights strung up in trees.Justin Bukoski / Global News

Patrons can gain access to the skating trail with their annual Saskatchewan Parks pass.

Otherwise, entry fees cost $10 per vehicle for one day.

The skating trail is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

It will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays for maintenance.

Signs posted along the trail direct skaters.
Signs posted along the trail direct skaters.Justin Bukoski / Global News

Hoehn said the trail is just one winter attraction in a park that also offers cross country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking and more.

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She said that until recent years the province essentially closed park gates when cold weather hit, but that now Ministry of Parks leaders are working to embrace winter.

“We’re really excited that we can offer more to people and have people come out and enjoy the park in all four seasons.”

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