A new picnic shelter will be unveiled on August 15th at the Salt River day use area in Wood Buffalo National Park from 1-4 p.m.
Parks Canada alongside Smith’s Landing First Nation, Salt River First Nation and Fort Smith Métis Council will reveal the new name for the building, do opening prayers and officially open the building for use with a ribbon cutting display.
Parks Canada Communications Officer Kevin Gedling says the new building will offer visitors a larger facility and provide staff with a new site for interpretive programs and special events.
The Salt River day use area is the first place a visitor encounters when entering Wood Buffalo National Park on the Pine Lake Road.
Gedling says it is an important and popular gathering place and an area of significant traditional use at various times of the year.
“Given its importance for all these different reasons, we felt it was time to replace the old shelter with a new facility that would last for many years to come,” he adds.
Construction on the new structure began in the fall of 2020 and finished in July.
The new building has a capacity for about 15 people. The inside is empty for now but picnic tables are being ordered, says Gedling.
Outside the building there are two metal picnic tables, several traditional wooden tables with fireboxes, a group campfire circle and free firewood.
Visitors who attend the grand opening will be able to explore the new space during the open house, where Parks Canada staff will answer questions and show them around.
Those in attendance will also be able to discover more about the culture and traditions of the area with Indigenous cultural programming.
Additionally, visitors will be able to take part in mini guided experiences offered by Parks Canada staff.
More details and an official schedule of events for the day are expected to be revealed later this week.