By Sandra Bannard, Executive Director, Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council

I am a big fan of Rick Mercer! Anyone who has watched the Mercer Report will be very familiar with the segment of the show where Rick does his weekly rant. Well the final Mercer Report aired a couple of weeks ago and this rant, like so many before, was very thought provoking. Mercer spoke about the absolute thrill he had in being able to travel all over our grand nation over the many years of doing his show. He encouraged Canadians to forget the trip to Florida for a year and to get out there and see the beauty of this great land. He acknowledged that not every Canadian may have the resources to go from coast to coast to coast, but he did encourage people to get outside and become familiar with what is in their own back yard.

I love to travel and I confess the appeal of going outside our borders to different destinations is really alluring, however I have also come to realize there are spectacularly beautiful places right here, literally in our own back yard. There are picturesque look-out points over the North Saskatchewan River from various trails in both the Eagle Point and Blue Rapids Parks, there are beautiful groves of ferns in the summer on the hiking trails in the river flats, there is abundant wildlife and birds to be observed while paddling on the North Saskatchewan River; the list could go on and on.
Cycling

The benefit of exploring and seeing the beauty in your own backyard is that you can have a little escape that is easily accessible and is totally affordable. On many summer weekends in Drayton Valley, there is a mass exodus from town to other places, however I challenge everyone this summer to plan a weekend exploring places or activities literally right here in our own back yard. Go for a hike, a paddle, a bike ride or a camp out at Willey West Campground. Try an activity that you have never done before!

The Eagle Point Blue Rapids Parks Council has operating clubs that are always looking for new members. Many of these clubs have equipment and people that can help you experience an activity without investing loads of money into gear or expensive lessons.
Paddling

Our member clubs are the Brazeau ATV Club, Brazeau Bowbenders Archery Club, Drayton Valley Horse Club, Drayton Valley Paddling Club, Evergreen Shooting Club, West Central River Boat Association and the Pembina Nordic Ski Club. For more information about these clubs, facilities and activities in the Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks please check out our website at www.epbrparkscouncil.org or phone 780-898-PARK (7275). Remember your backyard is bigger than you think!
Off Highway Vehicle Riding