Our summer travels started early in May with a short trip in northern Saskatchewan to the Narrows campground located in the Prince Albert National Park. This has always been one of our favourite campgrounds however, as canoeists we are finding the tubers and boarders are taking over the Narrows. This makes for a lot of over-the-shoulder checks and rough water for fishing. So going early in the year the campground (no online registration) is first come and a lot of spots are available or mid to late August through September. What use to be our quiet go-to spot that attracted fishermen and those not requiring power and hook-ups now is attracting a new kind of camper. During the peak season the boats from 20-40 hp now have to share the lake with those 150 hp and greater. Camper outfits are getting bigger and requiring more power meaning more generator use.
It was on this trip we were late in May due to a threat of forest fires nearby, the park and the campground was closed. We arrived to meet the fire fighters coming out of the area and stopped one of the vans asking if it was safe to use the campground, they could not provide us with any information. Luckily as we were sitting at the junction to the 18 kms gravel road to the campground a Parks maintenance truck drove up and we were able to find out the campground had just been declared open. It was a rainy cool day so we proceeded with caution finding when we got there we were all on our own. This would not have been a problem under normal circumstances, but with the smell of smoke heavy in the air we were a little concerned. We found a site we could get out of in case of a hurried evacuation.
The weekend remained very cool and rainy, but it was good to be back in the north and the pines. Not long after arriving we spotted another camper which stayed in a different loop in the large campground. Why this made us feel a little more secure…I do not know, now there would be two of us trying to get out in case of a flare-up.
It was on this trip we noticed the Park had gone through and cleared the campsites removing under brush and making two sites into one larger site to accommodate the trend of 40 ft. plus rigs and trailers along with huge boat trailers. The charm we found has not totally disappeared in the campground, but we can see the change is on to take the overflow from the main campsite at Waskesiu. This I suppose is a positive change for the Park and the new breed of campers and larger boats to enjoy the Narrows. However for us the quiet and the sounds of the loons which used to be the call of the north is disappearing. It’s time for us to find a new place, perhaps further north, where we can find more undisturbed beauty and quiet where the loons are free to nest.
Don’t get me wrong, Prince Albert National Park is a beautiful park offering people miles of hiking trails, canoe routes, town site, remote camping, luxury camping, hotels, food and shopping. The location is less than 100 kms north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan making this park very accessible. We are fortunate to have this park in our province. We will still get our fix of the Narrows each year, probably our first camping trip and last trip of the year when it’s not as busy…..and that’s just our idiosyncrasy. Check out the photos and hope to see you “Down the Road.”
You can check out the National Park at https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/sk/princealbert