The Assiniboine Forest, in Winnipeg Manitoba is the largest urban forest in Canada. The Forest is a blend of open meadows, wetland areas, ponds, and large swaths of old growth forest. Home to a variety of species of flora and fauna, the Forest is open year-round, free of charge.The Forest is 285 hectares of largely undisturbed wilderness has a total of 18 kilometres of maintained multi-use trails. The trails are used heavily year-round by pedestrians, cross country skiers and cyclists of all ages.
Since 1990, the Winnipeg Charleswood Rotary Club has been the custodian of the Forest. Charleswood Rotary has provided more than $600,000 in funding/grants and over 2,000 volunteer labour hours, supporting a variety of Forest projects and initiatives. These include the Assiniboine Forest’s entrance sign, development of the Grant/Chalfont parking lot, the construction of a front gate, the design and construction of the Eve Werier Pond boardwalk. The Club also supported of a 4-year program controlling thistle growth in the meadows and observation mounds by the pond and the clean-up of a large municipal waste disposal site, and correction of a compromised natural drainage pattern.
Thanks to the Club’s annual joint funding of the “Green Team”, a two-person team of students are employed during the summer for general forest and trail maintenance. In 2018, Charleswood Rotary transformed four shipping containers into a new storage building so that the Green Team could store maintenance equipment.