February 15, 2018: Ploughing Through Winter; Volunteer trailblazers on SJAM.

February 15, 2018: Ploughing Through Winter;
Volunteer trailblazers on SJAM.

By T. Thibeault.

In its third year of existence, the Sir John A Macdonald Winter Trail (@SJAMWinterTrail on twitter) is more than just ploughing through. It’s offering robust outdoor experiences for skiers, snow-shoers and winter fat-tire cyclists. All it takes is warm clothes and an appetite for adventure in the great white north.

From a pilot program in 2016, the trail has matured in its second full season and promises to grow even more by the end of 2019 when, after 3 full seasons, the NCC will re-evaluate SJAMTrail’s impact and usefulness, then reach a decision on future plans.

Head groomer Dave Adams took a brief break from his 7-days-a-week labour of love to tell us about the trail and its effect on the people who ski it, and work on it.

Always marked by burning enthusiasm for his subject, Dave’s words show his excitement at the momentum this project builds with each passing season. Where he once had to seek out help and support, he says people are now coming to him with ideas and projects that will only increase the trail’s usability and positive impact on the region.

Adams didn’t even try to hide his excitement when he spoke of being approached by Fabio deWitt of DEW Engineering with an interesting proposal that resulted in a win/win situation for all concerned and especially so for those who regularly use the SJAM Trail.

DeWitt’s engineering firm makes military grade, diesel-powered ski-doos specifically designed for hauling heavy loads over long distances in the Canadian Arctic. Both might benefit, he suggested, from using the SJAM trail and its near-constant grooming needs as a testing ground for DEW Engineering’s equipment.

Both men agreed and the result is greater, state-of-the-art horsepower to keep the SJAM Trail in prime condition while providing measureable results for the construction and development of the machines themselves. The big winner of course, is the individual skier on the SJAM Trail.

With 14 named sectors, maintenance of the trail relies heavily on regular volunteers and occasional helpers from the community. In particular, the hard core volunteers who watch for trouble and maintain peak condition of the trail are, Michael Lee, Dave Haney and Peter Edmison all local men who enjoy the outdoors and who contribute generously to their community by way of the SJAM Trail.

From west to east, the named sectors are: Dominion Station; Westboro Beach; Atlantis Woods, Selby plains, Kitchissippi Woods, Champlain Bridge, Carleton Sector, Champlain Woods, Tunney’s Pasture Extension, Remic Rapids, Parkdale Sector, Onigam Sector, Bayview, and Vimy Avenue. Together, these offer a round trip adventure of an estimated 25 kilometers of groomed trail. Anxious, but not yet free to give full details, Adams mentions at least one other area that is currently being looked at for expansion to serve a densely populated stretch along the trail.

With their harnessed enthusiasm and the support of an outdoorsy and athletic community, groomers Michael, Peter and two Daves, look forward to opening up the joys of winter to anyone with a hankering for snow, nature and a healthy lifestyle.

If you would like more information on military grade ski-doos visit: http://dewengineering.com/products/snowmobile

Photo Caption: Dave Adams, head groomer on the SJAM Winter Trail poses with just some of the equipment used to keep the 25 km round-trip trail in top form. Photo courtesy of SJAM WinterTrail.

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