Sudbury's 'Cycling Grannies' give back to Lake Laurentian Conservation Area
Group of outdoor enthusiasts raised $2,500 for a bench at a favourite lookout
A group of outdoor enthusiasts in Sudbury is giving back to the community, with a gift to the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area.
On Tuesday, members of the Cycling Grannies group hiked up to a favourite lookout on the Mount Ramsey trail in the conservation area — carrying materials with them — and helped to install a bench.
"This point up here is the most beautiful viewpoint in the whole of the conservation area, so we wanted to make sure that more people come up here and enjoy it. And we've always said it's crying out for a bench," said Ursula Sauvé, one of the founding members of the group.
Despite its name, the Cycling Grannies do more than just biking. The group is active in all seasons, going cycling, hiking and snowshoeing on Sudbury's roads and trails.
The group started about a decade ago with four friends getting together to go biking, and also advocating for better cycling infrastructure on city roads. Since then, its grown by word of mouth, and now has about 60 members, Sauvé said.
Janet Spergel is one of those friends who joined early on after the group formed. She said members had been talking for some time about the idea of donating a bench to the conservation area.
"In January we were out on a snowshoe, a few of us, and the subject came up again, and I said you know what, it's time to do something about it," Spergel said.
Spergel co-ordinated the fundraising efforts, and the group quickly raised the required $2,500. Most of that money covers the cost of the bench and installation, with some of it going to operation costs for the conservation area, said Julie Houle, the director of advancement for the Nickel District Conservation Foundation.
Houle said the Cycling Grannies went "above and beyond" by helping to carry up equipment and install the bench.
"I was so impressed with these women. Not only are they very active on our trails, but they wanted to give back and that means a lot to us, and it just goes to show how important the conservation area is in the Sudbury community," Houle said.