|Rafting on the Red Deer River - please click on image for a better view|
Blake Richards (front left in raft) is MP for the Wild Rose federal constituency
Sherry Tytkanych (front right in raft) is Sundre Chamber of Commerce President.
Ryan Thompson (back of raft) owns and operates Mukwah Rafting Tours.
Photos courtesy of MP Blake Richards' office
Story and video by Helge Nome
Media members, politicians and some community people got together for a free lunch at the Sundre Museum grounds on July 30 to do an image repair job on Sundre following the oil spill in the Red Deer River, on which banks the town is situated, in early June. The general impression that the Red Deer River was no longer fit for recreational use had hurt the business of local tourism operators.
One misconception was that Sundre itself had been affected by the spill which was not the case: The oil entered the Red Deer River well downstream of the town. Also, an investigation of the worst affected spill area at the junction of the James and Red Deer Rivers by this writer failed to show any visual trace of oil remaining on the banks of the river. (A heavy rainstorm in the area the day before the inspection may have washed away any remaining oil traces).
As pointed out by former area MP Myron Thompson in a discussion at the lunch session, the main challenge for Sundre residents may be an ongoing process of erosion along the banks of the river during major flooding events, causing a buildup of sand, gravel and silt in the riverbed, which makes the river seek new channels for itself. The Town of Sundre is currently protected (inadequately, according to Thompson) by a stone berm which can be seen in the top photo in this post.
For now though, the Red Deer River is as welcoming as it ever was with clean banks and clear waters.