Lac Pelletier Regional Park to host 50th anniversary celebration
For hundreds of years the scenic Lac Pelletier valley has been an oasis on the prairies for people who settled in the area and since 1964 the regional park has been a popular recreation spot in southwest Saskatchewan. A day-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lac Pelletier Regional Park will take place on July 19 with a variety of activities for the entire family.
Park Manager John Froese said the anniversary is an important milestone for the park.
“Fifty years is quite a challenge because of the way the parks were started,” he mentioned. “The first 20 years was an easy ride on the government and then all of a sudden we had to deal with business on our own in our own manner and it’s been a real growing pain to come to this threshold.”
He has experienced many of these changes personally and has been involved with Lac Pelletier Regional Park for more than 25 years.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of that and I wouldn’t be the park manager now if I didn’t want to see the park move ahead some further,” he said. “I haven’t achieved the goal yet that I want to see. … We want to make a garden of eden, an oasis, on the prairies.”
According to Froese only a few other regional parks in the province have reached the 50-year mark.
“We are one of the older parks,” he said. “I only really know of two that celebrated their fiftieth before this.”
The park receives more than 2,500 visitors every summer and there are about 310 cottages around the lake. Some people have even made the lake their year-round residence. He described the development of a nine-hole grass green, fully-irrigated golf course as one of the park highlights.
“It draws a lot of people and that works back and forth because they enjoy golfing at the park, but they’re also there because they enjoy the camping at Lac Pelletier,” he said. “So it goes hand in hand and we have a beautiful park that’s spring fed. So the water is fresh all year long. We have beautiful swimming. We have good fishing, good boating. On a hot day in the summer time the lake is loaded with boats.”
It is always a challenge to achieve a balance between the environment and recreational development around the lake.
“One of the obstacles we have overcome is potable water in the valley,” he said. “We boast a $1 million water treatment plant in the middle of the park.”
Another challenge is the financial cost to operate and maintain facilities, but Froese felt regional park board members have been proactive.
“They are foreseeing that and consequently our fees have gone up,” he said. “People are complaining somewhat and that’s understandable, but the growth pains cost money.”
The park is facing another major expense of $1 million for the construction of a new sewage lagoon.
“Our sewage lagoon can’t handle our effluent any longer,” he said. “So presently we’re building a new sewage lagoon in co-operation with the R.M.”
The 50th anniversary celebrations on July 19 will have events during the entire day. It will start with a pancake breakfast at the hall from 8-10 a.m. There will be a craft and bake sale at the hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A parade along the lake will take place at 10 a.m. There will be a car show and a display of vintage refurbished horse buggies, as well as horse and wagon rides, a petting zoo and face painting.
A historical table will be set up to link the celebration to the history of the park.
“Our historian, Cecile Blanke, is putting together a package,” Froese said. “It’s going to include the park but it will also include the history of the valley. That is going to be very, very interesting to be able to see what was there and what created and generated a regional park.”
A variety of activities will take place at the corral. Métis jiggers and fiddlers will provide entertainment from 10:30 a.m. to noon. There will be two hour-long musical performances by the popular Saskatchewan Express at 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. An official celebration event with dignitary speeches will take place at 2 p.m.
While visitors will have to pay the park entry fee at the gate, most of the activities during the day will be free. Hotdogs and hamburgers will be available at the hall for $5 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. A buffet supper for $15 per plate will be available from 5-7 p.m.
An evening dance with a cash bar will take place at the corral from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. It will feature the band Bakersfield and admission is $10 per person.
The park is selling raffle tickets for a grand prize draw that will take place at 10:10 p.m. during the dance. The lucky winner will win two WestJet Getaway flight tickets. The money from this fundraiser will be used to upgrade the handicap facilities, washrooms and playground at the hall.
Tickets are available at the park office and clubhouse. The park will appreciate pre-registration for the celebration and for meals by phoning the park office at 306-627-3595 or by e-mail to LacPelletier@xplornet.ca.
via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post http://ift.tt/1otAsY5