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Maintaining Lake Country’s Spion Kop trail

A column by Walk Around Lake Country (WALC) volunteers
Brenda Johnson and Elisabeth Dahnert trimming overgrowth on the Spion Kop Raptor Trail on April 7, 2024. (contributed)

~Contributed: Walk Around Lake Country (WALC)

Brenda Johnson and Elisabeth Dahnert were on the Spion Kop Raptor Trail on April 7 with other Walk Around Lake Country (WALC) volunteers, trimming overgrowth, moving fallen branches, and ensuring the ivory trail wayfinding signs were placed for easy sighting. Both love hiking and walking. More than this, they have a passion for enabling others to get out on local trails. Both are long time volunteers with several different groups, including WALC.

Brenda is a ‘hands on’ volunteer, getting out on trails, looking to add to our routes, or checking trail signage and conditions. Elisabeth is active too, but also attends meetings, appreciative of the opportunity to learn more about her community. She says, “Committee work gives me the opportunity and satisfaction of helping our community prioritize and make outdoor recreation available and accessible for everyone”. Both women are integral to a new WALC program that provides the opportunity for community volunteers to help maintain trails on Spion Kop. Those trails are on Crown Land and, thus, outside the responsibility of the District of Lake Country.

Brenda’s volunteerism began with WALC in 2008, an extension of her interest in walking and hiking. She joined Creekside Theatre seven years ago, where she organizes volunteers for ticket sales, serving drinks and working in the concession. Since retiring two years ago, she also donates her time and energy at the Food Bank once or twice a week. Apart from her early involvement with WALC, Brenda began volunteering in preparation for her retirement from a career in childcare. She says, “All my volunteer roles give me opportunities to meet others, spend time outside, give back to the community and are very flexible for when I may need or want time off.”

Elisabeth began volunteering in 2006, forming and guiding the Lake Country Outdoors Club with other outdoor enthusiasts, until its dissolution in 2021. She joined WALC in 2008 and was appointed to the District’s Parks & Recreation Committee in 2009. She is most proud of WALC’s 2021/22 federal Canada Healthy Communities Initiatives grant project that resulted in Lake Country’s trail app, printed trail maps, signage, and trail improvements within Jack Seaton Park. Elisabeth spent many hours ensuring the accuracy of distances and descriptions of trails on the app and maps. She says, “I am always amazed at what can be accomplished through collaboration between volunteer groups and local government. I think that when community goals are accomplished by or with the help of volunteers, that the community itself becomes more invested in the process and the outcome.”

If you’d like to try your hand at Spion Kop trail maintenance or have an interest in trail development and promotion, you can email For volunteer opportunities at the Food Bank, go to . Creekside Theatre volunteer information is at . Enquiries about citizen appointments to the District’s Advisory Committees can be made to