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Kinsmen Park becomes biking, hiking haven amid pandemic (5 photos)

Hiking numbers are down
Craving a break from indoor living? Kinsmen Park, which borders the Hiawatha Highlands Conservation area, provides the perfect escape from the confines of your home - especially given the warm weather: hikers and bikers, still maintaining physical distancing measures, have been active on the 35-kilometre network of trails.

"I'd say we've had about 20 people per day on average," says Maja Wetzl, groundskeeper. "But people should know that unfortunately our park and boardwalk areas remain closed until we hear more." Wetzl confirms it's a "wait and see" situation until the government relaxes rules around social distancing.

While many use "fat bikes" in the winter to explore the trails, Wetzl says she still sees them sometimes, "though mountain biking has become popular this season." The trails never officially closed during Covid 19, though the number of hikers remained lower than usual this season.

The Kinsmen Club, affiliated with the park itself, collects money throughout the year — primarily through the dam (connected to a generator) which produces electricity.

"With the sales from this electricity, we are able to donate to a variety of local charities," says Mark Wetzl, Kinsmen Club member. "Our mandate is for the greater good of the community — which of course includes supporting healthy living activities — such as hiking in the park."

The club has raised over $1 billion for charity since its opening in 1920, including many funds for disaster relief.

"We see a lot of families here - or people who bring a picnic and stay for lunch," says Maja Wetzl.

A gem of the Sault Ste. Marie area, Kinsmen Park provides the perfect place to decompress.