Hikers who frequent Riding Mountain National Park worry the site of a Second World War plane crash could be forgotten about if the trail leading to it isn't cleared and restored.
Colleen Buhler planned to hike the backcountry trail to the site, on the park's south escarpment, earlier this month with two friends. The group had stopped to check the trail and site ahead of a planned geocaching trek through the area.
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"We got about 200 metres down the trail and we just kind of lost the trail," Buhler told CBC News. "It was so overgrown."
"For me personally it was very discouraging."
The plane crashed into the park, located about 245 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, in April 1944 while on a training mission.
One of the plane's four occupants, pilot Sgt. Gordon Harold Hill, died while two others were able to walk and seek help at a farm just outside of the park.
Photos of the site show some of the wreckage still at the site, more than half a century after the crash.
Other sites maintained
Buhler said other historic sites in the park, like the prisoner of war camp, have maintained trails and believes this site should be afforded the same treatment.
"The trails to them are pretty well maintained and with this site, like it involved local people helping these pilots out," she said.
"I think it's important that there's some memorial to it and remembrance of the guy who had committed to fight in WWII for us and doing a training mission and one having lost his life," she added.
Buhler said it could be another tourist spot visitors could see if they want to get away from the busy Wasagaming townsite and nearby Clear Lake.
"To me it was discouraging that another trail in the park is being closed because of lack of concern or lack of funding for upkeep of these trails," she said. "People are losing out on use of the park."
She said she's talked to others who would also like to see the trail to the crash site re-opened. Her friends had planned to reach out to the park to voice their opinions about the site and condition of the trail.
Buhler worries that history in the park could be lost if paths leading to it aren't maintained.
"Unfortunately it means that historical sites like this plane crash are being reclaimed by the forest and will probably be forgotten in a few years if something more isn't done," she said.
CBC News reached out to Riding Mountain National Park for comment on Sunday but park officials haven't yet responded.