May 11th, 2021

Parks and Recreation: Escaping isolation via outdoor recreation

By Keziah Lesko-Gosselin on May 4, 2021.

The arrival of Canadian summer – AKA consecutive days with temperatures above freezing – has many of us changing into shorts, prepping our camping gear and setting out patio furniture. Despite the social restrictions causing many to change their plans, we are fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world with countless opportunities for outdoor recreation and interactions with others.

Medicine Hat is home to many picnic-ready parks and playgrounds just waiting for kids to climb on. The city’s numerous fields can be used for outdoor sports like soccer and baseball; however this year, sports involving little contact are preferred. Leinweber and Central Park both have 9-hole disc golf courses, which are great ways to spend the afternoon and engage in some friendly competition.

Whether you prefer the calm waters of Echo Dale Regional Park or the adventurous South Saskatchewan River, there are many paddling opportunities in Medicine Hat. Before heading on the water, check for safe conditions and prepare for possible emergencies. Keep especially cautious – and open to other options – when recreating during peak river flows, typically in June. This year, the Medicine Hat Paddling Club will still host the Great Big Paddle on 10 July. For more information, visit their website.

Medicine Hat’s trail network winds through many beautiful areas. To keep trails accessible for all, be conscious of other trail users, and only let your dog off-leash in designated areas – like WestVue and Saratoga dog parks, or environmental reserves.

Cycling is gaining momentum in Medicine Hat, and many people are using roadways to commute and exercise. Cyclists, please engage in proper bike safety when out and about. Motorists, please be courteous to other road-users and give safe passing distance. Remember that a little kindness can go a long way when recreating in any multi-use area. This month, Bike Medicine Hat is hosting the first-ever Cycle for Kidsport Challenge; to learn more and register, please visit their website.

If you prefer boots to paddles or wheels, there are many opportunities for hiking in and around Medicine Hat. Cypress Hills Provincial Park is a geographically unique and gorgeous area, also only one hour out of town. For trail ideas, consult Medicine Hat’s trail map, Alberta Parks’ website, or an app like AllTrails or Trailforks.

For more outdoor recreation ideas, please visit the city’s and Tourism Medicine Hat’s websites. Wherever you have fun, remember to minimize your impact by leaving no trace – especially in natural areas and parks. While there are many recreation opportunities around us, they can only be enjoyed if we treat them with respect.

Keziah Lesko-Gosselin is a Parks Technician with the Parks and Recreation department, City of Medicine Hat

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