A nature trail in Cottonwood Park has been named to commemorate the late Steve Vaselenak, a respected community educator and former City Council member.
Cottonwood Park was purchased by the City in 1996 from the Vaselenak Family, and the pathway descending into the Oldman River valley has been named the Steve Vaselenak Nature Trail to recognize his considerable contributions to the Lethbridge community over more than four decades. A private ceremony for the naming of the trail was held on April 4, 2016 with the daughters of the late Steve and Emily Vaselenak, Dianne Wensveen of Lethbridge and Joan Olesky of Sherwood Park, AB, on hand.
“The walking trails in Cottonwood Park offer a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature. It’s a place that our family would like everyone to enjoy,” says Wensveen.
Steve Vaselenak was born in Lethbridge in 1908 and taught at St. Basil’s School in North Lethbridge from 1928 until his retirement in 1970. He also served on Lethbridge City Council from 1947-1967 and was secretary of the Catholic School District No. 9 from 1940-1956. He also served on numerous other community boards.
“Naming this beautiful nature trail after Steve Vaselenak is a wonderful way to honour someone who was a hard-working, respected community leader for so long in our city,” said Mayor Spearman. “It’s especially fitting, given his family’s close connection to Cottonwood Park.”
Cottonwood Park is a designated Preservation Area to protect its significant environmental features and is named for its extensive cottonwood forest stands. It includes 118 hectares (292 acres) of grasslands, coulees and riparian forest.