Grande Prairie, Alberta : Saskatoon Island Provincial Park
Peace Country, Northern Alberta, Canada
Saskatoon Island Provincial Park is a popular activity and camping destination located in the Peace Country region of Northern Alberta near the community of Grande Prairie. The 100 hectare provincial park is surrounded by water - flanked by Saskatoon Lake on the north shore and Little Lake on the south shore.
Long before the region became a park Saskatoon Island was a picking ground for saskatoon berries for the people of the Cree First Nation. Soon later, in the early 1900s, the first European settlers gathered on Saskatoon Island for events and picnic gatherings.
In 1919 the lake level dropped dramatically revealing a fertile farming valley. The threat of the incoming settlers occupying the land for farming was so real that the locals fought to establish the area as a park. In 1932 the Saskatoon Island Provincial Park was established. It was one of the first provincial park designations in Alberta, Canada!
Saskatoon Island is still, to this day, a popular berry picking destination in the Peace Country region of Northern Alberta. And through time the park has developed more into an activity destination, a campground and a day use picnic park.
The Saskatoon Island Park Day Use Area is situated in a grove of trees and spread out over grass lawns only foot steps away from the beach and lake. Nearby there is a concession stand with snacks and drinks near the entrance to the day use area and the parking lot.
The Saskatoon Island Park Day Use Area includes picnic tables with fire pits (some in the shade, some not), change rooms, playground, amphitheatre, washrooms and sightseeing benches. Steps away is a sandy beach and an unsupervised swimming area on the lake.
Not far away from the day use area is a full serviced campground, a boat launch, a group activity shelter, beach volleyball courts, basketball court, horseshoe pits and 6.5 kilometres of recreation trails. 1.2 kilometres of those trails are wheelchair and baby stroller friendly.
In the summer months the park and Saskatoon Lake is an activity destination for many sunshine sports like hiking, boating, canoeing, camping, sun bathing, kayaking, picnicking, water skiing, jet boating, wind surfing, mountain biking, volleyball, basketball, swimming and birdwatching.
In fact the Saskatoon Island Provincial Park is a federal migratory bird sanctuary. It is a very popular birdwatching destination to view waterfowl and other species like the Trumpeter Swans who arrive in the month of April. There is a wooden lookout platform for birding located on Little Lake.
Some of the other wildlife sightings in the area include moose, coyote, weasels, snowshoe hares, woodchucks, beavers, muskrats and deer.
In the winter months, the snow arrives and the temperatures drop freezing the lakes and covering the area trails in snow. Some of the activities enjoyed during the winter include cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating. On Saskatoon Lake (not in park) people enjoy snowmobiling and ice fishing.
How to Get to Saskatoon Island Provincial Park:
Travel to 100 Avenue in the community of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. From 100th Avenue travel west on Highway #43 for 25 kilometres. Look for the signage marking the entrance to the park on your right