Our 6 km hike loops through the forest on 3 different trail systems - the Sagimay, Preston & Harte trails. Assiniboine Forest is the largest urban forest park in Canada. It was established as a centennial project in 1974 and with the exception of the pond area, is maintained in its natural state. Nowhere else within the boundaries of the city will a walker feel as surrounded by nature on this massive scale. This is a true urban wilderness.
NOTE - All winter walks may be subject to cancellation due to high windchill factors or other extreme weather conditions. Please check back at this site on the morning of the event.
points of interest -
Eve Werier Pond - The pond (named after Werier who devoted much of her time to wildlife preservation) is a man-made ecosystem constructed by Ducks Unlimited in the late 1970s. It supplies water for wild life and waterfowl, and with this water source, deer can be saved from crossing busy streets to reach the Assiniboine River.
As well, the marsh is home to myriad wetland species - cattails, bulrushes and duckweed are most abundant. Early mornings or at dusk you may come upon deer drinking at water’s edge or see a flock of ducks feeding on wetland plants.
Once you’ve left the asphalt path, heading south, you enter an aspen / oak forest consisting mainly of trembling aspen interspersed with oak. Underbrush includes dogwood, hazelnut, saskatoon, and chokecherry. This habitat is home to the white-tailed deer, the red squirrel, and the great horned owl.
Running off the main trail at regular intervals are a number of paths which are very wet in spring. These paths are the road cuts made in 1920 in readiness for a housing development which fortunately never happened.
The route passes through many small prairie clearings that indicate a meadow ecosystem. These clearings contain a plant community very different from that in the aspen / oak forest and most of these prairie plant and animal species are becoming quite rare. Species include big bluestem grass, yellow lady slipper, bird foot violets and meadow blazingstar. Watch for kingbirds and meadowlarks.
At the south end of the park, our path abuts a footpath called the Harte Trail. This path runs west on an abandoned rail line to the perimeter highway and beyond. If you are interested in a long distance trek, you can follow it all the way to Beaudry Park.
This event is open to Prairie Pathfinder club members and guests. CONTACT US to request a complimentary invitation.
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