River Bend Golf and Recreation Area has been a popular destination this winter for those looking to escape into the outdoors. (Advocate File Photo)

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area has been a popular destination this winter for those looking to escape into the outdoors. (Advocate File Photo)

River Bend opens new trail as users flock to area for winter activities

On any given weekend this winter, it is no longer a surprise for River Bend Golf and Recreation Area GM Rob MacPherson to see a packed parking lot.

He said some days there could close to 300 cars and in the neighbourhood of 1,000 visitors throughout the day.

“You look out at the parking lot on a Saturday or Sunday and you’d think Discovery Canyon was open in the summertime because the parking lot is overflowing,” MacPherson joked.

With people not having very many places to go while COVID-19 restrictions have been in place, MacPherson said Red Deerians have come out in droves to the golf course property to walk, hike, ski or bike.

That demand has created some congestion on the trails and River Bend management is trying to address that this week, by grooming a new, 3.2 kilometre trail loop on the back nine of the golf course, for walkers and bikers.

“We’re going to try and designate it more for walking and fat-tire biking, hopefully, divert some of the hikers and bikers there, versus on the groomed ski trails,” he said.

“But people are still welcome to use whatever they want. Just trying to keep everybody happy and keep things moving.”

Hello all users of River Bend! This winter has been extremely busy at River Bend as it is one of the few areas that you…

Posted by River Bend Golf and Recreation Area on Wednesday, February 24, 2021

River Bend has 19 km of groomed cross-country ski trails, that run along the path as the walking trail around the property and they’ve also started renting cross-country skis this winter.

MacPherson said make no mistake, he’s thrilled that people are taking advantage of the trail system they have at River Bend.

He’s just hoping they can just make a little more room for everybody to enjoy their experience. He said there has been some conflict between some users and hopes the new trail will help.

“You’re always going to get a conflict when you have that many people and that many different activities. They’re going to end up clashing,” he said.

“We’ve got beautiful ski trails that we groom for cross country skiing, but they are multi-use trails for everybody to use… we’re just trying to create more area out here for people to use.”



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