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Locals and visitors alike turned up to help celebrate the Saugeen Rail Trail Association's Silver Jubilee year on Saturday, June 27th at the SRT Train Station on River Street in Port Elgin.

Originally the Wellington Grey Bruce Railway serviced the communities of Port Elgin and Southampton. It was taken over by the Canadian National Railway with the rail service continuing for over 100 years before its decline led to the rail line being decommissioned. A group of volunteers founded the Saugeen Rail Trail Association, a charitable organization, in 1990 and helped prompt Port Elgin and Saugeen Township to acquire their sections of the unused rail bed.

Master of Ceremonies John Divinski started off the proceedings by thanking the Saugeen Rail Trail Association's partners, including McGregor Point Provinvial Park, The Town of Saugeen Shores, Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre, Queen's Bar & Grill, Unifor and Rowland's Independent. He also thanked individuals who had helped to make the day itself a success.

Mike Smith HalfSaugeen Shores Mayor, Mike Smith, recalled early discussions on whether the CN rail line should be purchased. He went on, "What we have here in this community now is a trail system that's probably second to none in Bruce County and second to none in Grey County...it's a great attraction for people and it's a great attraction for our own people." He thanked the Rail Trail Association and the volunteers. "It really makes this town a great place to live."

Matt Cunliffe of McGregor Point Provincial Park explained how McGregor's and the Association's trail systems are connected. "Anybody from town who wants to bike down and into the park can utilize the Rail Trail and join up with our trail system," he said.

Saugeen Rail Trail Association President Joyce Scammell said, "It's been an incredible 25 years, from coal dust to stone dust to enhancing to preserving our history and our focus has always been accessibility." She spoke about and praised the Association's volunteers. "Last year we had over 3,000 volunteer hours. If you put that into a dollar value, that's over $54,000 of work."

Scammell went on to say that over the last 25 years, 1,500 trees have been planted and so far this year 50 trees plus another 25 had been planted including 25 Red Blazed Maples. Scammell was excited as she recently learned that Home Hardware head office had awarded them funding for tree planting, more of which was happening this fall.Joyce Scammel Gerry Boucher Full

Draw prize winners were announced by Gerry Boucher of the Saugeen Rail Trail Association. Winners were Nancy Robinson, Walmart gift certificate; Robert Burns, $50 Elk & Finch, Southampton gift certificate; and Ann & Gord McKay, dinner for two at Lord Elgin Fish & Chips, Port Elgin. Bob and Linda Elliot and Rod Payette won bicycles and helmets, donated by Martin's Bicycle Shop in Southampton.

Complimentary food was served by Pier Donnini of the Queen's Bar & Grill, Port Elgin.

For further information on the Saugeen Rail Trail you can visit their website at www.saugeenrailtrail.ca

Pier Donnini Full

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 Bob Linda Elliott Full

 

 

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