Doreen Stapleton, Chairperson of the Rossburn Subdivision Trail Association, and Rossburn Reeve, Ed Mychasiw, cut the ribbon on Tuesday, June 5 in celebration of the official opening of the bridge.
As the ribbon was cut, the Rossburn Subdivision Trail Association (RSTA) celebrated the official opening of the new Birdtail Bridge, in conjunction with International Trails Day marked over the dates of June 2 to 9.
Bringing greetings on behalf of the RSTA, Board Chair Doreen Stapleton of Sandy Lake, told those on hand, including a group of Rossburn high school students who trekked the trail, that the bridge replacement project has been a joint venture between RSTA and MRTA (Manitoba Recreation Trail Association) from whom the RSTA received a generous grant of $37,000 towards the project.
The former bridge, spanning the Birdtail River located within the Rural Municipality (R.M.) of Rossburn, was burned in May 2007 after being refurbished by 1 Combat Engineer Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces in 2003, prompting the RSTA to put forth the new steel bridge with a wooden platform.
The official opening on Tuesday, June 5, also completed the RSTA’s trail – 100 percent former CN rail bed – from Neepawa to Russell in making it fully passable for all users of the trail including cyclists and walkers.
Built at a cost of approximately $50,000, including the MRTA’s grant, volunteer work, and in-kind donations from the R.M., the bridge was a long-time goal reached.
“We are proud to say our portion of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is now fully passable for all users,” said Stapleton. “Although we are faced with constant maintenance problems, we have an excellent Board who diligently tackles these challenges with vigor.”
Stapleton added that it was important to acknowledge and appreciate the continued support the RSTA receives not only from MRTA, but especially from the 13 towns and municipalities that house and nurture RSTA’s portion of the TCT. “On a local level, I’d like to thank Ilse Ketelesen, Tom Lawless, and Shirley Kalyniuk from our RSTA Board, and the R.M. of Rossburn for their work and support on this Birdtail Bridge Project,” said Stapleton.
Rossburn Reeve, Ed Mychasiw, said the Municipality was really impressed by what the committee has done in regards to this project and the TCT itself.
“If not for the dedication of board members and volunteers, this new bridge we are celebrating today wouldn’t have happened,” shared Mychasiw.
The portion of the TCT that the RSTA governs was given to them, with all funding coming from grants, and donations which are very appreciated by the RSTA Board. To commemorate International Trails Day, RSTA and its partnering communities held a number of events. Trek The Trail was encouraged in Erickson/R.M. of Clanwilliam, Sandy Lake and Elphinstone/Keeseekoowenin on June 4, and trek, bike or ride in a horse drawn wagon from Menzie to Oakburn on June 6.
With the RSTA’s portion from Neepawa to Russell – now fully passable – tracks have been turned into trails.