Many Yellowknifers enjoy immersing themselves in nature along the Ranney Hill trail, which winds its way through three kilometres of pristine wilderness a short drive from Yellowknife.
On March 5, the Ranney Hill Geological Interpretive Trail Working Group donated $1,450 for the construction of two commemorative benches for the Ranney Hill trail.
Students from St. Patrick High School and the Kimberlite Career and Technical Centre have been tasked with fabricating the benches.
The trail is named after Winslow C. Ranney, a prospector and trapper who used the trail to stake his claims in the 1930s.
The Ranney Hill Geological Interpretive Trail Working Group, which includes TerraX, Scouts Canada, the NWT Mine Training Society, the NWT Geological Survey and the Yellowknife Ski Club are coming together to beautify the popular hiking trail.
Even students are getting involved.
The benches will honour Sam Otto, the first prospector to overwinter in Yellowknife, and Neil Campbell, the geologist responsible for the development of both the Con and Pine Point mines.
"It's always great to be involved in the community,” said St. Patrick High School principal Todd Stewart who added that he was pleased his students would get to use “the skills they're working on for some real life work, so it's good for them to be involved."
Since its founding, the Ranney Hill Geological Interpretive Trail Working Group has improved parking near the trail head up Vee Lake Road, collected garbage and installed trail markings along the trail. There are plans to lay down gravel, build walking bridges and install interpretive signs.
The Ranney Hill trail runs through the TerraX Yellowknife City Gold project.
"We're still actively exploring in the area but that won't limit people from using the trail," said David Connelly, a spokesperson for TerraX.
Ryan Bachynski, a geologist with the Yellowknife City Gold Project, will be in charge of co-ordinating the efforts to get the benches fabricated and installed. He said the work should be completed by the fall.
"I use the trail a lot for hiking and I know the area well through my work as a geologist and I heard the mine training society was heading this venture to give some attention to the trail and thought it was a perfect fit," said Bachynski.