By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Taber’s Trout Pond is truly a hidden gem when it comes to recreation, and what used to be an unkempt and overgrown area has now turned into a staple of many Taberites’ daily lives.
Trail 77 deserves a lot of the thanks when it comes to the wonderful maintenance, signing and building of Taber trails. They aren’t done yet however, and President Steve Van Geest notes they have a master plan that will add another 10 kilometres onto the already extensive trail system.
“We’re pretty proud of how far we’ve come,” commented Van Geest. “We have everything signed with the name of the trail and the rating so you can better get your bearings when you’re within the system. Our master plan will take place over the next three years where we’ll hopefully have another 10 kilometres of single-track trail, so we’re very pumped about that.”
Around $10,000 was financed through the town and M.D councils, but the rest has been either volunteer driven or supported by the business community in Taber.
“We’ve been monitoring our volunteer hours. Last year, we had around 400 volunteer hours, but with the projects that will be taking place this fall we’re expecting to have around 600.”
Van Geest thanked the Taber and M.D councils for partnering with them and allowing them to maintain and work on the trails.
“This area was unkempt and relatively forgotten over the years,” said Mayor Andrew Prokop. “So roughly six years ago we began to enhance the trail system, and when Trail 77 came to us with their offer we just couldn’t say no. Currently, there’s a two-and-a-half-kilometre stretch around the pond, with another two-kilometre stretch going north that hooks up with the trail system at the park. This goes up and back around to the trail system in Taber which gives around 15 kilometres of trail altogether.”
The Trout Pond is currently on its third stage of five for enhancements, and there is still a lot planned for the future.
“We’re always looking to enhance the recreation of Taber. We’re looking into installing a playground at some point along with a tenting area and a camp kitchen. Nothing is installed yet and this area is constantly evolving but those are some of the things we’re looking at getting established,” added Prokop.“I believe we’ve pushed past the original vision of this place and it’s very exciting. It started out as just the Trout Pond itself, then the trail system and everything else just fell into place along with it. User groups like Trail 77 have helped us enhance the area and continue to do so, so we’re very excited about what the future holds.”
Prokop also mentioned the Trout Pond is a very good showcase of Taber and what it has to offer.
“This is definitely a focal point of Taber now, so bring your family and friends anytime and I hope you can become frequent fliers and regular users.”