There was nothing more fitting than unveiling a memorial for one of Lacombe’s trail purveyors than on International Trails Day, June 6th.
Friends, citizens, dignitaries and members of the Bill Nielsen Trails Society gathered at Bruns Pond during the City of Lacombe’s Parks Party to reveal the tribute to the fondly thought of runner and community member.
“When we speak of our trails, which are a huge asset to Lacombe and the residents of Lacombe, our minds automatically go to Bill Nielsen,” said City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie. “Bill passed away last year and he is missed and will be missed for many years to come.
“He would get up in the morning and pack his lunch and take off for the day and do nothing but cut trails, clean up trails and just enhance the trail system. He put countless hours in. He put in a lot of blood sweat and tears.”
Nielsen was also a long-standing member of the Lacombe Parks and Culture Board and the Lacombe Beautification Committee.
To mark his impact on the City and the trail system, some of Nielsen’s inspirational items, like his running shoes, were gathered and placed in a shadow box as a memorial for all to see. The shadow box will now be on display at City Hall.
Linda Nielsen thanked the City for recognizing her husband’s work.
“This is just such a honour,” she said. “I also have to thank the running group that formed the Bill Nielsen Trails Society and the work they did last year. It was unbelievable. The whole thing is just precious to us and I would like to thank everyone.”
Larry Michielson, president of the Bill Nielsen Trails Society, said Bill left an inspirational legacy.
“I ran with Bill for many years and I love the trails,” he said. “I don’t like the pavement, so a couple of us got to together and decided to continue Bill’s legacy on. So we’ve worked hard on the trails. The City came aboard and helped us out as well with anything we needed.”
The Society has planned The Bill Nielsen Trail Run, an annual fun run in Bill’s honour, for Oct. 3rd.
This year the run will offer a 10 km, 5 km, 2 km, family 2 km and a new 16 km ‘Bill Special’ option for running lengths. For more information, visit www.billstrailrun.com.