|South Saskatchewan River
Behold the South Saskatchewan and marvel. For here
is the southern Alberta's river of all rivers. It is
north of Grassy Lake, Alberta, at a scenic place called The
Grand Forks, where the union takes place which results in the
water course officially named the South Saskatchewan. Here
is what happens at The Grand Forks: The Oldman comes in from the
west and meets the Bow which has meandered in from the
north, and presto, we have the South Saskatchewan. From
here, the river makes its way downstream, glides along the
base of Redcliff’s red cliffs, and wanders through the city
of Medicine Hat. Just outside there, it contorts crazily
before more or less straightening out. Then it crosses the
Canadian Forces Base Suffield, and joins the Red Deer River just
across the Saskatchewan border. After this union, it is
forward ho to Hudson Bay.
Paragraph taken from the book “Rivers We
Love – Southern Alberta’s Lifelines.” Written by Jim Asplund.
|In Alberta, the South Saskatchewan runs for most of its
length in a deeply incised valley through some of the most
extensive native grasslands remaining in Canada. For much of
this 320 KM course, the river offers landscapes that are
still essentially wild and often dramatically beautiful. It
also offers marvelous opportunities for seeing and hearing
wildlife along its reaches where point bars and islands,
broad terraces of grass and sagebrush, gallery forests of
cottonwoods, badlands and coulees provide year-round or
seasonal habitats for many different species.
Unlike the white water rivers of mountains and foothills,
the South Saskatchewan does not insist on life in the fast
lane. The thrills and skills involved in paddling the river
are of a different order. There is time to watch and listen;
time to wonder and reflect; time to gain a sense of history
and a sense of place.
The waters of the South Saskatchewan come principally from
the glaciers and snow packs of the Rocky Mountains through
the Bow and Oldman rivers, which meet at Grand Forks. Over
the last 10,000 years, these waters have eroded a channel
through the gravel, sands and silts left during the
Pleistocene glaciations, down through the older sandstones
and shales of the upper Cretaceous Period, to form a valley
from 60 to 150 meters below the level of the surrounding
plains. From Medicine Hat to Drowning Ford, the river
follows the valley of a pre-glacial river. Here it meanders
through a wide flood plain; elsewhere, it has cut a less
sinuous channel. In some reaches, flood plain and river
terraces are all but crowded out as the valley narrows to
form a canyon.
While traders, government expeditions, North West Mounted
Police and Dominion surveyors left in passing some written
records of the river as it was prior to European settlement,
the native inhabitants, with their tradition of oral
history, wrote their records of passage in rocks. Tipi
rings and rock cairns are numerous in prairie grasslands
above the river valley.
Information taken from the book “Prairie
River” – written by Dawn Dickinson and Dennis Baresco
YOURSELF IN THE PEACE AND BALANCE OF NATURE!