Hotels are booked solid at Waskesiu in advance of the last long weekend of the summer.
© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Tour guide Carly Fraser shows off an original shack tent at the Waskesiu Heritage Museum site this summer. With summer guests not allowed to build structures during the early 20th century, they initially brought tents for the summers, she explained during a tour. Over the years, summer guests increasingly pushed against these restrictions, building floors and later walls. By the ‘50s, only the roofs were made of tent material, with more than 400 of these structures erected at the park. The entire structure was made so it’s easily taken down and away during the off-season.
“The town site is full, as usual, for the long weekend,” Waskesiu Chamber of Commerce manager George Wilson said on Friday.
“We do take day traffic, so come for the day!”
Plenty is planned for the long weekend, Waskesiu Community Council chair Brian Morgan said, noting that the Labour Day long weekend is the last hurrah of the season.
“I don’t think we have as many people up on the September long weekend as we do the July and August, but none the less it’s pretty busy,” he said.
“The summer is a critical time for us, for the visitors and the seasonal residents and the business community. This is when everything happens.”
This is the second school year set to begin after the Labour Day long weekend in Saskatchewan -- a shift Morgan supports.
“I think it’s very positive,” he said. “I think it gives families an extra summer holiday that they wouldn’t have otherwise, and it’s good for the community of Waskesiu because we have more people staying up during the last week of August than we would before.”
Citing “a lot of activities” taking place this weekend in the Waskesiu area, the one dearest to Morgan’s heart involves the replenishing of the area’s tree canopy.
Arbor Day will be recognized on Sunday, when park staff and volunteers will plant trees beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the lakeside trail of Waskesiu near the ball diamond.
Afterwards, a tree of particular importance at the Waskesiu Golf Course will be replaced.
The Lobstick tree, a 90 to 100-year-old spruce in the middle of the first fairway, has been forced to come down after reaching the end of its natural lifespan.
“There’ll be a new one planted, and there’s a big celebration surrounding that,” Morgan said. “Thousands of people have very fond memories of hitting that tree with their golf balls.”
A community celebration will begin with a barbecue at 11 a.m. A Lobstick tree ceremony will begin at noon, including a group shot with the original tree, a ceremonial final tee shot, felling of the Lobstick tree, planting of a new tree and a ceremonial fist tee shot with the new tree.
Other activities this weekend include;
A Saturday night wolf howl at 7:30 p.m. at the Beaver Glen Outdoor Theatre. This informative show includes information about bison, radio collaring and tracking of animals. The group then heads out with an interpreter-led car caravan to a quiet place in the park to howl for wolves.
A historic walk of Waskesiu will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Aboriginal games will take place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Nature photography tips and tricks for memorable photographs will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Learn to geocache will take place from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, with GPS units available to borrow.
A home and health session with aboriginal food and stories will take place from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
These are in addition to the lake, beach and outdoor activities always offered at Prince Albert National Park.