Until next winter, Nestaweya

Posted on Feb 21, 2024 by The Forks Market

It's not without a valiant effort to collaborate with Mother Nature through fluctuating river levels, oddly warm temperatures, rain, snow, and a series of freezes and thaws over the last few months that The Forks has officially now closed the Nestaweya River Trail presented by the Winnipeg Foundation.

“We know getting out on the river trail is a defining activity for Winnipeggers in the wintertime – the reason we’re able to clear, build, and maintain a trail at all is because of you the community, coming here all year round. The dollars you spend here allow us to build this amazing amenity for people to access for free,” says Sara Stasiuk, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Forks North Portage. “I have to hand it to our team and our partners at The Winnipeg Foundation for navigating some really challenging and unpredictable conditions this winter – we’re already crossing our fingers for a better year next year.”

This winter has been extraordinarily uncharacteristic, making the trail difficult to open and maintain. Despite the extremely mild temperatures, precipitation that came up from the south, and inconsistent melts and freezes, the hard-working river trail crew had the trail open for two short stints, from Jan. 25 – Jan. 30 and Feb. 13 – 17, amounting to nine full days.

This marks the shortest river trail season ever, not including the winter of 2020 when the trail didn’t open at all due to the river ice freezing and then dropping. The previous shortest season was 33 days in 2017. The Feb. 17 closure also marks the earliest in the year the trail has ever been fully shut down, beating out 2017 once again when the trail closed a day later on Feb. 18.

The trail spanned 600 metres from end to end this year, extending from the Port Rink in The Forks Historic Port over to a small section on the Red River. This distance is the shortest trail to date as well. 

This year was the third year in a five-year partnership with The Winnipeg Foundation.

"Even though the river trail's availability was limited this year by our unseasonably warm winter and changing river water levels, The Winnipeg Foundation is proud to partner with The Forks on this important community amenity," says Sky Bridges, CEO of The Winnipeg Foundation. "We will just have to wait to see what next year's conditions will bring to the Nestaweya River Trail."

The Forks is no longer monitoring or maintaining any portions of the ice and advises the public to stay off the rivers.

Weather permitting, the on-land skating trails in the Winnipeg 150 Winter Park will remain open. Skating and trail conditions are available at www.theforks.com/skate.

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