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Hearts embedded into outdoor rink at Echo Valley Provincial Park

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Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask. -

In hopes of warming people up for Valentine’s Day, one provincial park near Fort Qu’Appelle has embedded hearts into their outdoor rink this year.

"Our die hard romantics and our maintenance team decided to take it upon themselves and flood some hearts into the ice this year,” said Shelley MacLean, park manager of Echo Valley Provincial Park.

“It’s the first time we've had it happen. They were the ones who approached me with the idea and I thought, ‘Hey, why not?’ We still have ice, it’s a great opportunity to bring a little bit of joy to people and have them come out to enjoy the park.”

In addition to the red hearts being flooded into the rink at Echo Valley Provincial Park, various outdoor activities have been added, along with extended hours, making it available to families during Family Day weekend.

Aside from skating, people can use the parks’ zip line, ninja warrior course, croki-curl course, ski trails, the parks’ fireplace and portable sauna, and more. As well, for those who cannot skate physically or for people with disabilities, there are sledge seats available too.

MacLean said the majority of the activities are free of charge for people and their families to enjoy,

“In order to come to the park and enjoy all of the activities, the only cost you’ll have is your $11 park entry,” she said.

“It’s certainly affordable for families, especially today’s day and age when everything costs a lot, park passes are still relatively inexpensive.”

Park Manager Shelley MacLean (right) and Sandy Jost, outdoor enthusiast, skate around the 833m ice skating loop at Echo Valley Provincial Park. (Gareth Dillistone / CTV News)

One local skater, Sandy Jost, has been skating at indoor rinks all winter long, due to most outdoor rinks being closed this season because of milder temperatures.

“I’ve only skated indoors this year,” she said.

"I just think it's a great opportunity for people to get outside, to skate in amongst the trees, through the campground, it's really just quite magical.”

Information on all of the weekend events and activities planned at the provincial park can be found on Tourism Saskatchewan’s website.

"This week going into Valentine's Day we'd love to see people out at the park on Friday,” MacLean said with excitement.

“This weekend we've got our programming happening on Saturday and family week we're just hoping that this park is full of folks enjoying the amazing winter experience that we have here at Echo Valley."

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