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Woodlawn celebrates volunteers and 60th year as regional park

Woodlawn Regional Park's supporters and the community were invited to a presentation, commemorating all the people that helped the park's Souris River and Boundary Dam sites thrive.

ESTEVAN - Woodlawn Regional Park celebrated its 60th anniversary as a Saskatchewan Regional Park on Sunday.

Their supporters and the community were invited to a presentation, commemorating all the people that helped the park's Souris River and Boundary Dam sites thrive. The official part was followed by a free barbecue at the Doug Third Building.

The afternoon was dedicated to recognizing all of the incredible volunteers, donors, campers and community supporters that have made the parks what they are today.

They also recognized some extra special volunteers for the dedication they have given the two sites throughout the years.

This included recognition of Larry Preddy, who was awarded the Saskatchewan Regional Park Volunteer of the Year Award. The award was announced in 2020, but due to COVID restrictions, the board couldn't do a presentation to recognize all his hard work and endless hours and donations to Woodlawn Regional Park until now.

"What really stands out about Larry is his participation in all areas. As a leader, as an anonymous donor, and as a volunteer. I guess if you're an anonymous donor, I'm not supposed to say that," said long-time board member Greg Hoffort while presenting the plaque to Preddy. "But again, that truly does speak to Larry, he is not in it for the limelight or the recognition, he is in it for the park."

Preddy has been a constant supporter of Fresh Air Fitness, the dog park, Christmas Festival of Lights and many other needs and initiatives at Woodlawn. The trails in the park are named after him.

Hoffort was also recognized for his years of dedication to the park and his help with organizing and growing the campgrounds at the Souris River and Boundary Dam, as well as with rebuilding the park grounds after the 2011 flood. To thank him, Woodlawn has named the road where his seasonal campsite has been located for many years as Hoffort Lane.

The Bachorcik family was also recognized for the many years of service by Paul, John and Jonathan Bachorcik, who were instrumental in developing the park and its facilities. To thank the family, Woodlawn has named the kayak boat launch at the Souris River site as Bachorcik Pier.

The event was attended by Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen, Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig, city councillors Lindsay Clark and Rebecca Foord, representatives of local RMs, Woodlawn Regional Park board members, managers and users, including representatives of the TS&M Woodlawn Golf Course, Estevan Wildlife Federation, Fresh Air Fitness and others. Volunteers and community members were also present.

"The reality is that events like this and parks like this don't come about without people like you. And all of you from the RMs, from the city, from around the area put in, whether it's volunteering, whether it's role-based getting involved with communities, or whether it's as a sponsor or a donator, those are tremendous things and we're greatly appreciative of them. It's such a beautiful thing to see the harvest of 60 years and hopefully, there is more and more, and we continue to see progress. Congratulations on 60 years," said Kitchen.

"It's very satisfying to see not only Woodlawn but also Boundary Dam the way they've become, and it's a great thing for the city. We can't say thank you enough to each and every one of you that has helped make that happen. The staff, the committee members, the volunteers, the sponsors, each and every one of you has taken a part in that, and God bless you for that. Let's go on for another 60 years," Ludwig said.

The dignitaries and guests also shared the great memories they acquired through the years of volunteering, camping and just having fun at many locations and facilities all around Woodlawn Regional Park.

The presentation wrapped up with a slide show illustrating different times and stages of Woodlawn Regional Park's development from the times when kids would go for swimming lessons at the Souris River, to the days when there was an outdoor pool, to the 2011 flood, to the current community events and attractions regularly happening at two sites.

"Thank you to everyone that joined us for this special day. Thank you for 60 years," said the Woodlawn Regional Park on their Facebook page.