Watch for more exciting improvements to our trail systems in 2017.
PLEASE be aware that snowmobiles are not allowed on the HWNT at any time. These vehicles have the potential to cause serious damage to the trail surface, and also create potential risk to other trail users.
Trail users will be familiar with the sensation of suddenly need the use of a washroom, yet there you are in the middle of the trail with no facilities nearby. The BWT committee, working with Sarnia, will be installing portapotties at Cathcart Park and Clarence Park from May through October of 2017 as a test-run.
Bluewater Trails Committee is pleased to have received a grant from the Sarnia Community Foundation to finance 5 new benches for the section of the Howard Watson Trail between Exmouth Street and Confederation Line. These benches fill a need in this 2.5 kilometer trail section which previously did not have any seating for users.
“The Parks and Recreation Department is grateful to the Sarnia Community Foundation for their generous contribution which has allowed the hardworking Bluewater Trails Committee to improve the Howard Watson Nature Trail for the enjoyment of all users,” explains Ryan Chamney, Manager of Recreation and Planning.
Benches allow for seniors, families, and people with disabilities to enjoy an outing on our trail. They provide a respite where one can sit and enjoy the outdoor setting. Recent accessibility surveys by both the city and county, as well as surveys conducted by Bluewater Trails Committee volunteers had found a shortage of benches on this section of trail.
Additional benches are available for an $800 donation and include a memorial or honorary plaque to remember or celebrate trail advocates and users. Upwards of 20 benches have been donated. To donate a bench please click this link: http://www.bluewatertrails.com/donate/.
Grants from upper tier governments and foundations combined with donations from local industry have allowed Bluewater Trails Committee to update this trail in an effort to meet Government of Ontario accessibility standards and become a first in class urban pathway for residents’ recreation needs. Benches are one of many requirements to achieve these standards.
Bluewater Trails Committee is a volunteer committee of Sarnia City Council which advises City Staff and Council on the management of the more than 60kms of city trails and safe street routes used to connect these trails and city parks. The Howard Watson Trail is a 16km linear park which was originally a rail line.
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For more information please contact:
Chair, Bluewater Trails Committee
Manager of Recreation and Planning, City of Sarnia
firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-332-0527 Ext. 3202
Watch a 2-minute video showing the resurfacing in action! Click on link below:
(above) The city, in concert with the Bluewater Trails Committee, is working to widen and smoothen portions of the Howard Watson trail. Here, just west of the Blackwell Road gateway, a work crew painstakingly applies fine screenings onto the trail. This creates a smooth, wider trail that is then “rolled” to harden the surface.
(above) Before the fine topping is applied to the trail, the surface is scraped-down several inches to create a smooth, flat “bed” for the topping materials. This section is at the Modeland gateway facing east.
(above) Here at the Blackwell gateway, looking west, a roller sits idle at trailside while in the distance two workers use a dump truck to drop the topping materials onto the pre-excavated trail bed.
(above) A roller is used to pack-down the screenings here at the Blackwell gateway.
(above) The wider, flatter trail allows for greater accessibility to the HWNT, and encourages safe distances between various trail users (pedestrians, cyclists etc. )
During the summer, the Committee recently took to the trail for an Open House, manning information booths at both the Michigan Ave gateway and the Modeland Road gateway. We asked trail users for their feedback on the trail, how they use it, what they like and what could be improved. A number of cyclists told us that the slopes at Telfer were a safety issue when braking on the loose gravel slopes. BWT answered the concern by having these slopes paved to prevent the tires from skidding.
We enjoyed an interesting evening with Tony Barrand, Chair of the Bluewater Trails Committee and with Felicia Syer with a non-profit called Return the Landscape at the last GreenDrinks July 13 get together – an informal, monthly discussion of environmental issues.
We’d love to hear your thoughts….
The Howard Watson Nature Trail (HWNT) is a remnant prairie, a habitat-type that at one time covered much of southern Ontario. Temperate grasslands and savannahs are among the most endangered ecosystems worldwide. In Ontario, less than 0.5% of the historic prairie and savannah areas remain. Because these ecosystems are so rare, many of the species that are found within them are also rare or at risk.
14 of the plant species found on the HWNT are provincially tracked, including three species at risk, Dense Blazing Star (Threatened), Riddell’s Goldenrod (Special Concern) and Hop Tree (Threatened); and two other species known from fewer than 5 populations in Ontario, Smooth Agalinis and Fringed Puccoon.
Inaugural Cycling Event coming to Southwest Ontario August 7 to 12, 2016
This year’s Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA) launches two new exciting additions the route —Pelee Island and Lambton County—6 new communities to explore. This event is a fully supported guided cycling holiday that invites as many as 150 people to cycle a featured section of the Trail. Last year’s event generated $176K in economic benefits to local communities.
The event kicks off with 150 cyclists boarding the Pelee Island ferry in Kingsville to enjoy a full day and evening on the island. Other overnight stops are: Windsor, Wallaceburg, Sarnia/Point Edward, Grand Bend. This will be the first year the tour features an international day. On August 10, a shuttle to Sombra will be offered where participant can take the Bluewater Ferry to Marine City, USA, cycle the Bay to Bridge Trail to Algonac, and ferry back to Canada at Walpole!