Stettler is one of four towns taking part in the fourth annual Walk ‘n’ Roll Challenge, which is to determine which town’s residents can register the most destinations reached via walking or biking over the summer from May 1st to Aug. 31st.
And membership keeps on growing – as mentioned, this year four communities are in the competition – Stettler, Ponoka, Wainwright and Rocky Mountain House.
“It’s been very much back and forth so far with the four towns, which we love to see,” said Grace Fix, vice-chair of the Heartland Beautification Committee.
“Wainwright was in the lead and they did win for the month of May. Stettler did move into the lead early in June, but now I see that Wainwright is back in the lead!”
As of Monday, Wainwright had logged 2,750 trips, Stettler had notched 2,571, Rocky had landed at 2.015 and Ponoka had recorded 443 trips.
Of course there is lots of time to secure the win – Stettler has been the champ the last three years running, said Fix, adding that back in 2012 the committee decided to launch an initiative to encourage folks to use alternative transportation like bikes or their walking shoes.
That year, they received a grant to cover all the bike racks that are currently on Main Street.
“Then for 2014, 2015 and 2016, we did local Walk ‘n’ Roll competitions. One year, it was walking or biking 500 trips during the month of August. We did that for two years.”
And in 2016, discounts from several local businesses were provided when people opted to ride their bikes.
“In 2017, we decided to start the Walk ‘n’ Roll with other towns. We thought, this is working! We could see that our participation was rising so we said let’s spread this to another town and have some fun. So we started with Ponoka in 2017, and then in 2018 we added on Wainwright and this year we added Rocky,” she explained.
“It works really well – all the towns are using the same registration page, too.”
Folks can also sign up anytime, and they can even register ‘retroactively,’ she said.
“You never know what is going to come out of the woodwork because somebody can save up their trips for the whole summer and then include them on the last day. So it’s very unpredictable, but we like it that way,” she said.
“When we first started out, our goal for Stettler was to get 500 trips in one month. The last time we did Walk ‘n’ Roll, in the four months we did 24,000 trips,” she said. Those results were from 2019 as the event did’t take place last year due to the pandemic.
But back then, between the three towns, 66,000 trips were logged.
Meanwhile, at the end of each month, the total trips by each town are calculated and the winning town receives bragging rights on all media for that month.
The best Walk ‘n’ Roll town for 2021 will be declared after Aug. 31st.
Stettler area residents can register their trips at www.stettler.net.
Again, all that counts is that the resident has decided to walk or bike to a destination and leave his/her car at home that trip. The distance of the trip is not important.
And the ‘to’ and ‘from’ the destination count as two qualifying trips.
It is important to note that this program is not about going for a walk or bike ride for pure exercise. It is a decision to not drive somewhere, noted a release.
“We know that there are already lots of residents out there who chose walking and biking as their method of transportation, so please register your trips! Stettler is a very walkable and cyclable town. Distances are not great. The terrain is flat. And our trail system is excellent.”
In the meantime, the Heartland Beautification Committee is keeping busy with about 20 projects on the go as well.
“Of course, we are responsible for the community orchard, and we fundraise for that. We are also the group of volunteers that maintain it, too.
“We are also currently having an ‘upcycle’ challenge. This is where we invite people to take something old and make it into something new,” she explained. “The deadline is July 1st, and we have 31 entries so far.
“If people wish, they can offer their item for sale and we will auction it off online and give all of the proceeds to Superfluity,” she said. “We’ve also been doing some ‘utility pedestal wraps’. Such as the ATCO or Telus boxes – we have done several, and we doing another this year. We take historic photos and then place them on the pedestal. It makes them look nice but it’s also a bit of history for Stettler.”
The box near the high school, for example, features a photo of the 1907 school.
“The one we are doing this year is a huge one is between Sobeys and the Stettler Fire Hall, and it has a photo of the Fire Hall in 1907. Then, on the front are the horse-drawn wagons pulling the hoses,” she explained.
“We also have a flower container contest – there are 10 containers at West Stettler Park. We then make it a little contest and declare a winner each year.”
There are still a few more containers for use, she said.
Meanwhile, there are nine people on the Heartland Beautification Committee.
“It’s making a difference in our community. I guess you would call me an environmental activist to a degree, and I feel that we can make a difference locally. If everyone makes a difference locally, then we can make a difference globally.”
For more about Walk ‘n’ Roll or the committee in general, contact email@example.com or phone 403-742-4411.