Improvements are coming to Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park with new projects to be supported year after year, thanks to a generous donation of $1.58 million from the estate of Cheryle D. Christensen and the Manitoba’s new Provincial Parks Endowment Fund.

“We know how attached Manitobans are to their provincial parks and because of the generosity of the late Ms. Christensen, we can continue to expand and improve the amenities of this park that was so close to her heart,” said Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard. “Preservation and protection of Manitoba’s parks is a key priority for our government and this fund will help us support new projects at Hecla/Grindstone.”

The Provincial Parks Endowment Fund, announced by the minister last spring, encourages private and philanthropic contributions while enabling the province to follow the wishes of donors who want to leave a legacy of support for parks. Managed by The Winnipeg Foundation, the $20-million fund is expected to generate as much as $1 million per year to assist in offsetting the increased costs of enhancing and sustaining parks, and has a matching formula that provides $1 for every $2 donated from other sources. Priorities for the fund are determined through a process involving engagement of citizens and stakeholders.

The minister noted the province will match the Christensen estate’s donation on the two-to-one basis, generating approximately $95,000 to $100,000 a year in perpetuity for projects and activities that will contribute to the development and preservation of Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park.

“This generous donation will help us continue the important work of preserving our local history and ensuring the Hecla Historic Village best represents the role this region has played in the growth of our province,” said Dean Amundson, chair, Hecla Historic Village Association. “We appreciate the support of the Cheryle D. Christensen estate and acknowledge that from humble beginnings, great things and great thinking are possible from great people.”

The funds designated for Hecla/Grindstone will go toward projects that enhance the park’s ecological integrity and public experiences. The first such project will be the construction of an open-air shelter over the Blue Streak II, an historic fishing boat displayed outdoors in the Hecla Historic Village. This is one of the last whitefish boats from Lake Winnipeg to feature entirely wooden construction, and the minister noted the shelter will help preserve it for future generations to experience.