‘Blueway’ staging areas approved in principle

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

M.D. of Lesser Slave River council has approved in principle a proposal to identify (by signs) a couple of ‘staging areas’ for the Trans Canada Trail. The idea is to promote the Lesser Slave River as a section of the trail, part of the big push to ‘unveil the trail’ in time for Canada’s 150th birthday this year.
Presenting the idea at council’s Mar. 29 meeting, Russ Jassman of the M.D. reminded councillors the river has been designated as a ‘blueway’ portion of the Trans Canada Trail. A committee has been formed and is working with the Trans Canada Trail people on some signs, he said. These could be used to identify launch sites along the river.
One such likely site is at the Tollenaar Bridge, which the M.D. has also earmarked for campground development. Another is at the boat launch area below the weir on Lesser Slave River. Having these sites identified, signed and otherwise promoted, Jassman told council, could lead to tourist visits and use of the river for canoeing and kayaking.
The concept could be expanded, Jassman continued, to include staging sites at the former Spurfield bridge site, at the Driftwood River and at the old Mirror Landing site near Smith.
Jassman said from the weir to Tollenaar Bridge is about a six-hour float, or three to five hours if you’re paddling. That’s less than half the distance from Slave Lake to Smith as the crow flies, but probably more than half if you count all the loops in the upper portion of the river. The lower half is straighter and faster.
Jassman also told council the committee hopes to collaborate with the Woods & Water Recreational Trails Association on grant applications for the project.

The Lesser Slave River is all set to become an official section of the Trans Canada Trail, part of the big push to get the trail established for Canada’s 150th birthday this year.

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