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'It would’ve taken us years': Trail to link Watrous and Manitou Beach ready for traffic

A long-awaited trail linking the town of Watrous to nearby Manitou Beach is now open to the public, but the meaning behind this simple gravel path goes much further than meets the eye.

The safe passageway from Watrous to the resort village was a long-time dream of Ronald Ediger and his late wife Melissa.

“We had a dream to join the two communities,” Ediger told CTV News.

The safe passageway from Watrous to the resort village was a long-time dream of Ronald Ediger and his late wife Melissa. (Carla Shynkaruk / CTV News)

He got a sign made that will be placed on each end of the three kilometer gravel path — Memory Trail. It’s a tribute to his wife who died three years ago. Ediger says it’s also for others who use the trail and have a connection to this place.

“It kind of means memories of the past and making new memories,” he says.

Ediger owns a construction and gravel business, which made this project possible.

“I have the ability and manpower to put it all together — not everybody can do that,” he says.

The Rotary Club in Watrous started a walking path which extends around the community of Watrous and stops at the northern outskirts.

“He got it done in one year, where it would’ve taken us years and years to get it done. So now people can enjoy it,” Ron Morningstar with the Watrous Rotary Club told CTV News.

It was quite a process to ensure the trail met all legal requirements. Ediger got the OK from the Ministry of Highways as well as area landowners, one of which has a portion of the path on their land.

“The big concern is the safety on the highway. Get them off the highway; walkers and everything else, bikers. This way it’s a lot safer for folks,” Ediger says.

Safety has been on the minds of town council for years, as well.

“Because there’s been so many close calls with people on bikes, and all of a sudden Ron, out of the blue, said, you want that trail, I’m the man, I can get it done,” said Poppy Petersen, Mayor of the Resort Village of Manitou Beach.

While this path is a physical connection between Watrous and Manitou, they say it also represents a symbolic connection between the two.

“I think in this world we have to be in unison and make it better for folks,” Ediger says.

He admits that the two areas haven’t always been on the same path over the years, but he’s hopeful that the trail may change that in some small way.

Thousands of people are expected to hit this trail and Ediger is committed to it year-round. He’s even planning on bringing his snow plow out here in the winter for as long as he is physically able, adding that when he takes something on, he will make sure it succeeds.

“I don’t give up real easy.” 

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