CPAWS Southern Alberta Blog

Paddling the North Saskatchewan River

Photo: Nancy Young

After spending several weeks advocating for the protection of the Bighorn, I recently got to experience the beauty of this area for myself when my partner and I embarked on a 3-day canoe trip down the North Saskatchewan River.

We put in just south of Nordegg, and couldn’t help but take our time as we gaped at the stunning mountains and foothill forests. Apart from several patches of clear cutting, and the few pieces of garbage we picked up, there is little sign of human impact. We saw countless springs and streams throughout the entire trip, all contributing to this huge river. The North Saskatchewan gave us a nice combination of easy floating and some more challenging rapids, so although you don’t need to be an expert to paddle this river you do have to be knowledgeable and have some experience.  It seemed a couple dozen other people had to come to the river that weekend for the same reason as us; to escape the business of life for a few days. And there are few things that can offer a better escape than being somewhat isolated  in untouched wilderness just downstream from the proposed Bighorn Wildland Provincial Park.

Although we didn’t see any wildlife, the bear scat and moose tracks constantly reminded us that we were visitors to their home, and I felt lucky to share it with them. I truly hope that the Bighorn is given protection, so that I can take my friends and family down this river 50 years from now, knowing that the river’s headwaters have been protected.

Hannah Penner
Summer Outreach Coordinator
CPAWS Southern Alberta