River floating parade just two weeks away

Joe McWilliams

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Not only does dressing up a ‘floating float’ for the Aug. 26 Great Trail Celebration on Lesser Slave River sound like a lot of fun in itself – there is some pretty nice loot on the line for the winners. We’re talking about a kayak and a paddle board going to a lucky winner (or winners).

Other prize winners will be determined by draw, says Ruth Rolfe of the Town of Slave Lake – one of the organizing partners for the event. The others are the M.D. of Lesser Slave River and the Woods & Water Recreational Trails Association.

That’s the news out of the planning HQ, as of last week.

On the other hand, “you don’t have to dress up if you don’t want too!” says Rolfe. “Just come down to the river and have some fun!”

The River Parade, as it’s being called, is being put on to celebrate the connection of the Trans Canada Trail for Canada’s sesquicentennial.

One way or another, the Trans Canada Trail folks have ‘closed the gaps’ in the massive trail system from coast to coast to coast. In practical terms, it means some sections are ‘blueway’ (rivers and lakes), other sections simply follow municipal roadways and some are ‘greenway’ trails through forests and fields. We have some of all three going through the M.D. of Lesser Slave River and proceeding into the County of Big Lakes. The Great Trail then makes its way – one way or another – across the Smoky River Region towards Peace River.

That spur of the ‘Arctic’ section of the trail continues over roads into B.C. and up to the Yukon.

The Athabasca River has been designated a ‘blueway’ section of the trail, eventually reaching the Arctic Ocean via the Slave and Mackenzie River system.

Lesser Slave River is another blueway section, designated as of this year to connect the trail from Smith to Slave Lake. That’s one reason it was decided to have Slave Lake’s ‘Great Trail Celebration’ on the water. As far as we know, this is the only celebration event happening in the northwest part of the province.

Rolfe mentions that there will be area maps at the event, showing trails as they are developed so far, and people to answer questions about them.

“We have wonderful trails around here,” she says. “And a lot of people don’t know anything about them.”

Russ Jassman of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River is the guy producing the maps. He says they show the three types of trail connecting Athabasca with The Narrows on the north shore of Lesser Slave Lake.

So…. Dress up your tubes, your kayaks, your canoes and whatever else that floats (safely) and come on down to the river on Saturday August 26!
It runs from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., starting at the town’s water pump station (at the top end of Main St.) and winding up with a free barbecue at the M.D. boat launch.

For more information call Jill at 780-849-8028.

Share this post