The Story of White Butte

White Butte was established in 1982. Its name is an amalgamation of the names of two adjacent communities, White City and Pilot Butte. Following lobbying efforts by members of the Regina Ski Club, the Saskatchewan Natural History Society, and numerous other interested persons, the provincial government offered the area, now known as White Butte, for use as a cross-country ski area, recreation area, and wildlife refuge.

The site offered skiers some thick bush for wind protection, rolling topography, and a number of old vehicle trails that could be included in ski trail planning. In 1983, Bob Herbison, park planner for the provincial government, used maps and aerial photos to pre-plan the proposed ski trails. A group of volunteers worked with him, flagging the bush prior to trail cutting by the government. By removing stones, stumps, and old car bodies, and filling in some wet spots. Ski club volunteers have improved these trails yearly, and added first the Cherry trails, followed by Snowberry.

A number of years ago, we were in danger of losing White Butte when the Saskatchewan Department of Highways proposed routing Highway 46 to Balgonie through the area. Fortunately, lobbying by the Regina Ski Club, Saskatchewan Natural History Society, and others prevailed and the area was saved for our enjoyment.

The warming hut at the trailhead was supplied by the provincial government and moved, at Regina Ski Club’s expense, from Valeport to White Butte. Bob Herbison, Susan McGillivray, Ron Blechinger, Hal Herbison, Bob Serban, Joe Turnham, Gregg Brewster, and Gene Josephson are just a few of the many club members who deserve honorable mention as White Butte builders.

In 2006, the entire White Butte trail system was designated a part of the Trans-Canada Trail. White Butte is classified as a recreation site and is part of the Saskatchewan provincial park system. It is presently under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport.

Peter Whitehead