The Woodlawn Regional Park had a chance to celebrate its past, present and future Saturday.
To commemorate the park’s 50th birthday, the Estevan Chamber of Commerce hosted Beach Bash Saturday at the Boundary Dam beach. The event included a number of events from sandcastle making to beach volleyball to demonstrations on how to fish with a net. Despite having to compete with a Saskatchewan Roughriders game and intermittent rain, Beach Bash attracted a strong crowd and those in attendance appeared to enjoy the event.
Although Saturday was a time to celebrate the proud history of Woodlawn Park, it was also a chance to look forward as Saturday was the first opportunity for many of those in attendance to see the improvements to the area at Boundary Dam and the continued expansion of the campground.
Greg Hoffort, the chairman of Woodlawn’s board, said with the damage caused at Woodlawn’s Souris River site by the floods of the 2011, the decision was made to continue expanding at Boundary Dam. That expansion has included new campsites, work to the beach, a concession and office.
“The board is real pleased with the progress there,” said Hoffort. “Things are coming along very nicely there. We started the year with 72 sites (at Boundary) and we will be adding 20 to 30 sites this year. It’s becoming a real nice little destination. The traffic out at the beach is really increasing and it’s just great to see that people are using it.”
Although they have been working hard at the Boundary site, the board has not forgotten the Souris River site.
Hoffort said the board is working towards a plan of attack at the site which was devastated by last year’s floods. There are currently 60 campsites still in operation and Hoffort said their focus in the near future will be on the core area of the park where the damage was most severe.
“Part of the problem is determining where to go, planning for the future in the event of another flood,” he said. “Many of the sites are gone because the river widened out substantially, but there were some areas where we think we can create some camping opportunities.
“We have about 140 sites out of service. More like 60 or 70 sites will potentially be put back into that area. And it’s really a start from scratch thing. There are no services, no electric, no water that can be salvaged. It’s absolutely starting from scratch in that area.”
To help recoup some of the campsites they lost, Hoffort said the board plans to create new sites in the area that once hosted the chariot and chuckwagon track.
The board is also continuing to work on reclaiming its two rental facilities — Rotary Hall and the Doug Third Hall.
“The demolition work to basically gut the buildings has been largely completed and in the near future you will start to see progress on the restoration of those two buildings to get them back to a rentable state.
“We look forward to 2013 when will have those rental facilities back and some additional camping facilities to get Woodlawn, at both sites, to be the top-notch facility it once was.”