Three longstanding Walden Cross Country Fitness Club volunteers were recognized Dec. 29 when the club dedicated portions of its trail system in their names.
Doug Santala now has his very own section of the club's seven-kilometre loop, officially called Santala's Run. Santala was a teacher at the Lively High School where he began coaching cross-country running ski-racing teams.
In 1971, the ski teams used to practise on the Lively Golf Course and train at the Voima trails and on Santala's own property in Naughton. He was the first club president and served from 1977 to 1983. He is also responsible for negotiating land and right-of-way access agreements for the club and came up with the plan for the five-km, 2.5-km and one-km trails.
Trails were open to the public in 1977 where memberships were advertised in the Walden Observer and sold through the Naughton General Store with Eleanor Williams as the first membership co-ordinator.
They also groomed trails at the Penage Lake Golf Course and Beaver Lake. The club's first chalet was moved from Den Lou where it had served as a tourist information booth.
Karen and Ron Shell also helped greatly to build the club in the early days.
For years, Ron groomed trails at Naughton, Beaver Lake , and Lively, was vice-president, and did much work on building and maintaining trails, and maintaining and improving equipment and buildings.
Karen was secretary, often the organizer of social events, and performed lots of other duties as needed.
A section of the original three-km trail is now called Shell's trail.
Meanwhile, the three-km lit loop at the club has now been renamed Mullock's Lane to honour John Mullock's outstanding volunteer contribution to the club for the past 34 years. Although he passed away this past October, his wife, Rose, and sons, Tyril, John and Fred were on hand to accept the dedications.
Mullock was also the club's president for many years in addition to being a groomer, handy man, treasurer and active volunteer. No task was too big or too small for Mullock.
He was instrumental in getting the three-km loop equipped with lights in the late 1990s and had his vision of a large spacious fully accessible chalet which was completed just a couple of years ago. His love for the outdoors was contagious and giving back to his community was a principle by which he lived each day.
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