OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTRE
The Outdoor Education Centre site will be located on HWY 214 at the Decommissioned Waste Disposal Site
ABOUT THE OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTRE
The Outdoor Education Center (OEC) will be a unique venue designed to give Conservation students of all ages an opportunity to experience hands-on involvement in programs that introduce them to the outdoors and outdoor skills. The OEC will be a one-of-a-kind facility in Western Canada where independent educators utilize the facility to teach specific subjects.
A multi-purpose facility will be constructed to allow us to deliver educational programs in conservation focusing on outdoor skills, safety, and other natural resource-based programs. This recreational facility will provide a complete set of archery, trap, and shooting ranges constructed in accordance with the range design and guidelines of the Canadian Firearms Centre.
BENEFITS OF THE OEC
The OEC will be one of a kind in Western Canada. No such facility exists in the area to provide outdoor skills education, safety and recreational opportunities
Will provide opportunities to experience hands-on involvement in programs that introduce them to the outdoors and outdoor skills
The OEC will focus on youth. The skills learned at the center will enable students to enjoy the many outdoor recreational opportunities this country has to offer
Will provide a venue for the safe delivery of organized shooting sports and outdoor skill training
The reclamation of the decommissioned waste disposal site will provide a purposeful recreation facility eliminating an unsightly area that is not suitable for other purposes. A presently unusable area will be transformed and re-landscaped to provide a recreation and educational site for the community
Outdoor Education Centre and Firearms Range
Completed so far during Phase One
- Rifle Range
- Small Arms Range
- Archery Range
- Related Enclosures
- Parking Lot
Ranges are constructed in accordance with the range design and guidelines of the Canadian Firearms Centre
OEC Phase One Tour Video
Volunteers Made This Possible
We are fortunate to have amazing members who volunteered to help with the Phase One construction. Literally, thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears went into getting the Outdoor Education Centre and Firearms Range to this point. Well, maybe not blood but a lot of sweat and hard work from a dedicated group of people!
We will continue to rely on your efforts to complete the Phase Two construction of the multipurpose building to complete this one-of-a-kind project.
OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTRE FAQ
The proposed Outdoor Education Center (OEC) will be a unique venue designed to give outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to experience hands-on involvement in programs that introduce them to the outdoors and outdoor skills. A decommissioned waste disposal site will undergo reclamation to repurpose it into a recreational area and education centre.
A classroom facility will be constructed to allow us to deliver educational programs in conservation, focusing on outdoor skills, safety, and other natural resource-based programs. This recreational facility will provide a complete set of archery, trap, and shooting ranges constructed in accordance with the range design and guidelines of the Canadian Firearms Centre.
The various programs will be open to all ages with a focus on youth. The skills learned at the center will enable the users to enjoy the many outdoor recreational opportunities our area has to offer. It is our hope that the participants will not only learn a skill but become ambassadors of wildlife conservation. The 0utdoor Education Center will be one of a kind in Western Canada.
The Outdoor Education Center will be located approximately 9.8 kms south and west of Lac du Bonnet. The site is located at the decommissioned Lac du Bonnet waste disposal site, 1.4 km south of Provincial Road #214. The area is outside of the Agassiz Provincial Forest located on unoccupied but encumbered Crown land owned by the Province of Manitoba.
The Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association has permitted use under Crown Land Permit #GP71933. The area is generally surrounded by forest and swamp. The reclamation of the decommissioned waste disposal site will provide a purposeful recreation facility.
The proposed site of the Outdoor Education Center (OEC) is surrounded by forested Crown land and is outside Agassiz Provincial Forest. The Agassiz Provincial Forest is comprised of 196,449 acres (795 kms2) and contains numerous roads, trails, and access areas. The development of the OEC will take only 25 acres.
The Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association (LdBWA) supports and encourages a variety of outdoor pursuits and the surrounding area will remain open Crown land, both within and outside the Agassiz forest, available to the public for common outdoor pursuits such as hiking, berry picking, dog walking, indigenous and licenced hunting and just getting out to enjoy nature. In addition, there are numerous other areas and trails for the public to enjoy all around the Lac du Bonnet area, including the 1.5km Interpretative Trail established by the LdBWA during the construction of the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association Ponds.
The SnoMan snowmobile trail #760 runs through the area at the south end of the proposed development. This trail is under the Crown Land permit to the Eastman SnoPals group. The LdBWA has worked closely with Eastman SnoPals and has come to a mutual agreement that the firearm ranges will be closed from Dec 15 to March 30 during the snowmobile season.
There are no designated ATV trails within the Agassiz Provincial Forest nor the vicinity of the proposed OEC. The SnoPal trail southwest of the site is flooded by swamp and impassable to trucks and most ATVs.
While there are no campgrounds, picnic areas, or other established family areas in the immediate vicinity, there is a designated fuelwood cutting area immediately north of the proposed site. It will continue to be available to the public. Development of the OEC will also help control the illegal cutting of fuelwood that is evident south of the proposed site.
The Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association (LdBWA) researched various locations for the development of the Outdoor Education Centre (OEC). Options for leasing or purchasing non-crown land and obtaining other Crown land was considered. This included examining possible options with the other ranges. While there are 4 other ranges within 45 km of the Town of Lac du Bonnet, none of them offer what is being proposed by the LdBWA.
Previous arrangements with other ranges were found to be unsuitable to our members. Some ranges have reached capacity and are no longer accepting memberships. Others were not interested in forming partnerships or amalgamating with us to expand their facilities.
It is anticipated that the OEC will draw participants from the Lee River, Bird River, and beyond. While these ranges may be a suitable distance for town residents to use, they are too far away for many. Development or use of a site outside the area would also greatly reduce the economic benefit to our community
This entire Outdoor Education Centre project is designed to promote safety in outdoor recreational activities in teaching and design.
Currently, target shooting is uncontrolled with the ad hoc use of gravel pits and along trails leading to unsafe situations and litter left behind. This facility will address environmental and safety concerns associated with the ad hoc use of gravel pits and trails for target shooting.
The Canadian Firearms Centre sets range standards and inspections are done by the office of the Chief Provincial Firearms Officer (CPFO). Safety is the mandated purpose of the CPFO. All construction (berms and backstops) and operations will comply with the standards set out by the Office of the Chief Provincial Firearms Officer. Safety areas will be signed at the entrance to the ranges and around the perimeter in accordance with the CPFO requirements. By following Range Design and Construction Guidelines the area will be much safer than under the current situation where it is not controlled.
The proposed site of the Outdoor Education Centre is on the site of the decommissioned Town of Lac du Bonnet Waste disposal grounds. A decommissioned waste disposal site will undergo reclamation to repurpose it into a recreational area and education centre. Approval for reclamation of the decommissioned waste disposal site has been given by the Environment Branch of Manitoba Sustainable Development and is subject to various Manitoba Regulations.
As part of the Crown Land permit application process, our proposal was reviewed by no less than 30 government departments, branches, and Crown corporations. These included Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Fisheries, Manitoba Environment, Habitat Mitigation & Wildlife Land Specialist, Drainage and Water Licensing, and Manitoba Agriculture to name a few. No concerns or adverse effects were identified to the environment, wildlife, livestock, land, or water supply in the area.
Testing done by J.R. Consulting Ltd in the decommissioning of the waste disposal site found high levels of ammonia, arsenic, cadmium, chloride, conductivity, hardness, magnesium, nitrate, potassium, sodium, and turbidity in some groundwater. This was deemed to not necessarily be a problem as there were no domestic wells within the immediate vicinity. In addition, while the area of the decommissioned waste disposal site is not classified as a “groundwater pollution hazard” area it is virtually surrounded by hazard areas.
With that said, the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association is well aware of the harmful effects of pollution and lead on the environment. As good stewards of the environment, our members and the general public have the expectation that we will take steps to mitigate the effect on this area. Best Management Practices are being examined to develop an environmental stewardship plan. Many effects can be reduced or eliminated by range design, lead mining from backstops, reducing shot patterns, controlling run-off, controlling the PH levels of soil, and the planting of vegetation to name a few.
The Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association has conducted a series of sound testing in the surrounding area to determine the effects of noise on the area.
Decibels levels were recorded to measure the relative loudness or level of a sound. Each set of 10 dB represents a doubling of the subjective impression of the loudness of the sound. Many of these tests were witnessed by landowners from the surrounding area that were interested in participating as well as members of the RM council.
The closest property to the sight is located 1.45 km away and is where the highest sound levels were recorded. Background sound at that area was recorded as an average of 37.1 decibels (dBA). The average level recorded during rifle testing was 41.6 dBA, an increase of only 4.5 dBA over background noise.
To put this into perspective a soft whisper at 5 feet away is 34 dBA; conversational speech 60 dBA, city traffic 92 dBA; a chainsaw, leaf blower, or snowmobile 106 to 115 dBA; and a jet engine 140 dBA. A level of 60-65 dBA is generally considered the threshold for annoyance or limited community reaction.
At the closest property to the site, an increase of 18.4 dBA would be required to reach the threshold for annoyance. This correlates to the sound of the rifle shots needing to be 3.580 times louder to reach the level for annoyance. Even when a 5 dBA penalty is applied to compensate for the sudden quick impulse sounds made by a rifle, the sound would need to increase 13.4 dBA or be 2.532 times louder to reach annoyance.
Sound levels from shotgun testing were recorded at slightly lower levels. The tests were taken in a variety of wind and weather conditions and at different times of the year when the leaves were both on and off the trees of the surrounding forest. During the testing, some shots taken could not be heard by most of the people present. Several test shots had to be delayed due to background noises from the nearby highways, birds, and wind which
would drown out the firearm sound making it undetectable.
The construction of backstops, berms, range covers, and other construction at the site of the
Outdoor EducationCentre is also expected to further reduce the sounds heard by our neighbours.
Once fully operational the Outdoor Education Centre (OEC) is expected to generate over $100,000 per year of economic activity into the local economy. This does not include initial construction spending. Gas stations, restaurants, hotels, B &B’s, and a variety of local businesses will all benefit. In addition, increased revenue is expected through the purchase of memberships to the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association (LdBWA) and the OEC.
The LdBWA has a long history of cooperating and supporting other groups in the area such as the Lac du Bonnet Charitable Foundation, the Lion’s Club, The Royal Canadian Legion, the Community Center, the Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby, the Historical Society and others. All groups in the area stand to benefit from this venture.
Is such a large project viable to be taken on by a volunteer group such as the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association?
The Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association (LdBWA) has a proven track record for completing large scale projects. We recently completed a four-year project in the development of the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Trout Ponds and 1.5 km Interpretive Hiking trails at a cost of over $200,000. This project was completed on time and under budget. The majority of the work was completed by volunteers and funded through the various fund-raising activities the club holds throughout the year.
Funding for the Outdoor Education Centre (OEC) will come from various sources, as well as, being raised through the various activities of the LdBWA for both initial and maintenance costs. Much of the construction and maintenance will be completed by volunteers. The initial budget for the OEC is over $275,000. Of this amount over 85% has been raised or committed.
The LdBWA has developed a recognition program for our sponsors and donors and will maintain a record of all donations. Sponsors will be recognized on the LdBWA website and in press releases during construction. Upon completion of the overall project, a sponsor’s board will be erected on site.
For more information on the Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association, the Outdoor Education Centre, other programs we are involved in, or to join the association – you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ldbwildlifeassociation/. Feel free to fill out the form on our Contact Us page.