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Alberta's North Saskatchewan River Receives Heritage Designation

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar25,2024

The Saskatchewan River Northern Alberta Receives Heritage DesignationThe North Saskatchewan River Valley in Edmonton. (Archive photo)</p>
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The governments of Canada and Alberta have declared that the entire portion of the North Saskatchewan River that runs through Alberta is now recognized as a Canadian Heritage River.

A 49-kilometer stretch of the river, which runs through Banff National Park, was already designated as part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System. The remaining 718 kilometers of the river's route in the province, including the Edmonton River Valley, are now included.

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System is a national program aimed at recognizing the cultural and recreational values ​​of waterways. It was established in 1984 and 41 heritage rivers are recognized across the country.

Smoky Lake County has played a leading role since 2019 in the multi-year project to designate the North Saskatchewan River.

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The North Saskatchewan River crosses, among other things, the city ​​of Edmonton, Alberta.

Kyle Schole, vice-president of the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, has met with the province, Indigenous leaders, and other counties and municipalities to address the issue. gain support for the designation project.

Signage and maps, as well as ecotourism and wildlife viewing opportunities river are effective ways to balance conservation and recreational use of water, notes Schole.

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Such a designation allows municipalities to come together and collaborate, he says .

The waterway passes through 16 municipalities in the province, including Smoky Lake County. The designation will allow communities along the river to work together to monitor the environment.

[The designation] establishes a vision for how we want to work together to manage the river so that future generations can enjoy it as we do and as our ancestors did did.

A quote from Kyle Schole, Vice-President, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance

The North Saskatchewan River is a traditional gathering place, travel route and place of life for Indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Dene, Métis and other Indigenous communities.

Andrea Sandmaier, president of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government of the Métis Nation of Alberta, explains that the North Saskatchewan River was a main waterway for traders of Métis furs since the 1600s.

Today, many Métis still canoe or kayak on the river and harvest produce in neighboring communities, Sandmaier said in a statement.

Our government fully supports the decision to declare the entire portion of the river crossing Alberta a Canadian heritage site, assures- her.

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Paddling the North Saskatchewan River is a popular summer activity.

The challenge now, says independent Alberta senator Paula Simons, is to make the river accessible for recreation and tourism, while keeping environmental conservation in mind.

In Edmonton, Simons says the focus should be on connecting the city's network of cycling and hiking trails along the river.

For so long, we turned our backs on our city's greatest asset, notes Ms. Simons.

For those of us who leave the banks of the river and bathe there, whether in a swimsuit or on a boat, it's an opportunity to see the city from a different perspective.

A quote from Paula Simons, Senator

With information from Nishat Chowdhury

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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