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The Tantramar Outdoor Club was incorporated in 2008 to promote cross-country skiing, and in a more informal way, cycling, running, snowshoeing and canoeing.

A ski in the early days along the Crooked tree trail.
A ski in the early days along the Crooked Tree Trail under the tree that gives it its name, when it was first cleared on the Town Reservoir Land in 2008.

Cross-country skiing and trail development in Sackville was first organized in the 1970s, with Bob Knapp being one of principal instigators of the formation of the Sackville Ski Club. Most of our present trail system was developed by Bob and a group of dedicated skiers (Roy Pierog, Cy Bernard, Dave Petrie, Gerry Bartlett, Clarence LeBlanc and Nick Rodger to name a few) utilizing existing logging roads in most cases. Although the SSC petered out because too few volunteers were doing all the work, skiing continued.

Trails were cleaned up by autumn work parties and trail set (“broken”) by these same skiers who religiously skied for 2-3 hours every weekend morning, carpooling to the trail head with the driver deciding the route of the day. Because they set their own track, they did not rely on a confined area to ski, heading off to Dorchester Cape via the Hill Road, up the Mahoney Road, following snowmobile trails and sometimes along the rail trail or marshes to Jolicure.

a group of TOC members clearing trail in 2008.
Some TOC members clearing trail back in 2008.

The present TOC was born out of a union between these local ski pioneers and Sackville Athletics, a small group of avid runners, skiers and cyclists, who saw the value of formalizing and expanding the local trail system, partly driven by the Town’s Green Space Master Plan from the early 2000s, which recommended the Town’s Reservoir properties be developed for people-powered activities. This led to the development of the Crooked Tree Trail and Ogden Brook Loops, and the construction of the warming hut on the CTT, aka Das Rosshaus.  Around this time, we also made the decision to purchase our own snowmobile and take over grooming not only at Beech Hill Park and Crooked Tree Trail but the whole Blue and Yellow and Red Trails. At the same time, Cy Bernard, Nick Portman and Jamie Harper developed the extensive network of snowshoe trails associated with the Reservoir properties.

Early construction of the warming hut along the Crooked tree trail.
Early construction of the warming hut along the Crooked Tree Trail.

Each of these recent developments engendered a marked increase in trail use for skiing, snowshoeing and walking, proving the truth of the adage, “if you build it, they will come.”

Although the Crooked Tree Trail and Ogden Brook Loop trails are on Town land, the remainder of our trail system is on private properties whose owners generously permit skiing on these lands. As we do not own this land, we do not restrict use to “members only,” allowing anyone to use the trails. Membership is voluntary and is the primary source of funds to support the activities of the club—primarily trail building, maintenance and grooming, and running our Jackrabbit learn to ski program (in 2021 there are close to 90 youth enrolled).