NORTH STORMONT — Moose Creek’s newest tourist attraction has skated away with the local public’s imagination this winter.
Located off Sixth Rd., Countryside Adventures offers a skating trail just as long as the one in Gatineau Park— in this case meandering through the Eastern Ontario bush of North Stormont Township.
Owner Nicholas Seguin acknowledges the Quebec operation inspired his own project. Remarkably, he only started creating the trail system last November, working “14-hour days, seven days a week” to clear and then — as the weather grew colder — flood a three-kilometre network of iced pathways through the woods.
Opening with an initial 1.5-km loop in January, the full 3 km came into service just a couple of weekends ago when a second, interconnected loop was made ready.
The Crysler-area resident receives his guests at a quaint indoor reception structure — a couple of transport trailers placed end to end and dressed up with rustic wood planks. For this year, he explains, it was faster than trying to jump through the regulatory hoops of erecting a permanent structure. “As long as it’s on wheels, you don’t need a zoning amendment,” he says with a smile, adding the advice came from the municipality itself. “It was something I could do fast enough for this year.”
He adds that he intends to put up a traditional building in the future as well as a maple syrup production facility to stretch out the tourism season into the spring.
Countryside Adventures has gone over well in its debut season. Local schools have lined up to visit, with a recent week in February drawing five schools. “Weekends have been crazy busy,” adds Seguin, who’s assisted by numerous family members at the attraction — including his mother who welcomed guests and rented out skates on a recent weekend.
Thanks to his other business, Total Landclearing, the entrepreneur already possessed the equipment to carve out and maintain his trail system — including an excavator. He uses a skidsteer with snowblower to clear the trails of snow and a tractor with attached tank to spray thousands of litres of water to regularly flood and resurface the ice.
Between bouts of skating, patrons can rest on trailside benches, enjoy the bonfire back at the main reception area and order treats from a nearby french fry truck.
See Countryside Adventures’ promotional video, above.