Sarnia Council, at it’s sept. 9/19 meeting, approved a side-extension of the Howard Watson Trail that will pass across Finch Drive and lead directly into the campus of Lambton College.
The trail had been discussed and planned by both the city Planning Dept. and the city’s Bluewater Trails Committee. The Committee is funding 20% of the $278,000 cost, with a provincial grant covering the rest. Cope Construction will be doing the necessary work.
An increasing number of people are asking about purchasing memorial benches to be placed within the city’s trail/park system. Please click on the link below for complete information and application forms.
Click here for the interesting inside-story of how the trail came to be.
Pricing for the installation and maintenance of a memorial bench on the trail system is now $1500 per bench. The bench is specially-designed to withstand the rigours of nature and regular use by trail users. The cost includes a specially-engraved nameplate. For more information, click on the link below.
Trail users may be familiar with the sensation of suddenly needing the use of a washroom, yet there you are in the middle of the trail with no facilities nearby. The BWT committee, working with the city, has installed porta-johns at Cathcart and Clarence Parks seasonally, May thru November.
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 a $1500 per bench donation. This price includes the heavy-duty bench itself, the installation, ongoing repair and maintenance, and includes a memorial or honorary plaque to remember or celebrate trail advocates and users. Upwards of 20 benches have been donated.
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.
Manager of Recreation and Planning, City of Sarnia
email@example.com 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. )
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.