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Yellowknifers happy with trail, except litter and poor lighting
Yearly maintenance on McMahon Frame Lake Trail not enough to keep it clean

Heather Lange
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 4, 2011

McMahon Frame Lake Trail brings nature to the doorsteps of Yellowknifers as well as a great view. It also makes a great place to hide from prying eyes and drink alcohol, with drinkers leaving beer bottles and broken glass on the ground for unsuspecting passersby.

NNSL photo/graphic

Briese Beaulieu, 16, and her 14-year-old sister Alysha takes a break from jogging to check out the Shield Country interpretive sign on McMahon Frame Lake Trail, a sign that is in good condition, on Wednesday. - Heather Lange/NNSL photo

On the morning of Aug. 3 a bald eagle was spotted sitting in a tree being chided by a seagull at McNiven Beach and a muskrat or otter was swimming just above the surface. A serene picture just minutes away from Franklin Avenue. Unfortunately, also a couple of empty vodka bottles and broken glass were seen strewn about on the side of the trail.

Overall Yellowknifers seem quite content with the trail conditions in and around the city, except for the litter and a lack of lighting.

"The only reason I don't use it more is safety with all the incidents over the last couple of years. I would like to see improved lighting and clearing of some of the brush," said Debbie Matheson.

Danielle Ignacio-Pacunayen said the McMahon Frame Lake Trail was great except for the random corners where you see clothes and beer bottles.

Sisters Briese Beaulieu, 16, and Alysha Beaulieu, 14, have recently started jogging along the trail.

"It's great except for the litter. It's a big problem and I would like to see more lighting," said Briese.

Sherwin Mahar was walking his young Labrador puppy on the winding trail.

"I would like to see less glass for the safety of dogs. Besides that, it's a nice trail," said Mahar.

Every year, the City of Yellowknife employees complete maintenance on the trail, righting signs that may have fallen down and cleaning up vandalized interpretive signs. The city also cleans up litter along the trail, but it seems to be a challenge to stay ahead of the problem.

Another issue residents bring up is the poor signage on the non-paved portion of the trail, leaving hikers wondering where they are.

A sign on the far side of Frame Lake, about three kilometers from the entrance onto the trail at the Legislative Assembly, indicates different trails can be taken, but does not show the present location. The sign's lack of direction can easily cause hikers to lose their way. Mayor Gord Van Tighem said he, himself, has had experience getting lost on the trail in that area.

"Every time I go over there, I end up at the Bristol Monument instead of where I should be. I took the Trans Canada Trail people around there and we ended up at Bristol Monument. We had a cell phone so we got picked up," said Van Tighem talking about an incident last year.

Van Tighem said he would pass along the suggestion of updating the "you are here" signage.

In the projected costs for the city's 2011 budget under the general fund for community services, it allocates $3.75 for every metre of trail the city is responsible for maintaining in the summer. With 2,400 meters of paved trail the city maintains and 5,300 meters of unpaved trail, that makes 7,700 metres of trail to maintain at the cost of $28,875 for summer maintenance.

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