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North Saskatchewan | kisiskâciwani-sîpiy River




Story Maps

Each Heritage River Story Map displays various visual representations of geospatial data in combination with text, photos, videos and external links.  

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Natural Heritage

The North Saskatchewan River, kisiskâciwani-sîpiy, Omaka-ty, is one of the great rivers of western Canada. This river flows through complex and varied ecosystems. Much of its length forms an overall geographic demarcation line between boreal forest and prairie grassland, creating interesting and unusual environments that support a broad diversity of wildlife, including many rare plant and animal species. This river also flows through four provincially defined natural regions within Alberta and through eight natural subregions.  

Cultural Heritage

The North Saskatchewan River has been an essential conduit for economic and cultural exchanges among Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. This river remains a place for ceremony, gathering of medicines, subsistence, and spirituality. In the post-contact period, the river has remained a central travel route, solidifed by the transcontinental railroads in the late-1800s. This river played a key part in the signing, oral history, and shared understanding of Treaty No. 6 both at Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt in 1876 and also the Adhesion at Fort Edmonton in 1877.

Recreational Heritage

The North Saskatchewan River provides a plethora of recreational and river appreciation opportunities along its various reaches, ranging from hiking, camping, and fishing, to exploring riverside trails by bike and discovering viewpoints and historic sites along its banks. Visitors can explore David Thompson Corridor and Westcountry, whitewater paddle at the Brierlies near Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, discover Eagle Point Blue Rapids Provincial Park, and pan for gold at Genesee. There is exceptional fishing and angling near Devon and throughout Fort Edmonton Park, walking and biking trails along the Edmonton River Valley Alliance (RVA) network, and viewpoints along Victoria Trail near Waskatenau. Visitors can also explore Tales of the Trapline at Metis Crossing within the Victoria District National Historic Site, the Iron Horse Trail, and Forts George and Buckingham House near Elk Point.

The entire river affords countless and diverse opportunities for river-travel adventure, viewpoint pullout areas, and historic and contemporary trails for river-based touring, angling, paddling, wildlife viewing, hiking, climbing, berry picking, camping, and other traditional uses.

Fun Fact

The Edmonton capital regions' beautiful River Valley and Ravine System lays alongside the North Saskatchewan River and is the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America. It stretches across 48 kilometers, encompassing 20 major parks, 11 lakes, 22 ravines, and 160 kilometers of maintained pathways and trails. Altogether, this is 22 times larger than New York City's Central Park!

This designation complements the potential new national urban park for the Edmonton region, announced in March 2022 under Parks Canada’s National Urban Parks program. Parks Canada, the City of Edmonton, the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, and the Métis Nation of Alberta are collaborating together to lead discussions and engagement around the opportunity for a national urban park in the Edmonton region.

River Managers

Smoky Lake County (located downriver/northeast of Edmonton) is leading a collaboration of more than a dozen municipalities in the nomination and designation of the North Saskatchewan River. The collaboration includes the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA), as well as Indigenous, recreational, and stewardship groups in advancing a CHRS designation of 718km of the North Saskatchewan River, downstream of Banff National Park to the boundary with the Province of Saskatchewan.

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The 718 km section of the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta, from the Banff National Park boundary to the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, was designated to the Canadian Heritage Rivers System in 2024 for its cultural heritage and recreational values.


Many partners were involved in the nomination of the North Saskatchewan River.

  • Clearwater County
  • Town of Rocky Mountain House
  • Wetaskiwin County
  • Parkland County
  • Leduc County
  • Town of Devon
  • City of Edmonton
  • Strathcona County
  • Sturgeon County
  • City of Fort Saskatchewan
  • Smoky Lake County*
  • Village of Waskatenau
  • Village of Vilna**
  • Town of Smoky Lake
  • Lamont County
  • Thorhild County
  • County of Two Hills No. 21
  • County of St. Paul No. 19
  • Village of Elk Point
  • County of Vermillion River No. 24
  • Metis Nation of Alberta
  • Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations
  • Fort Edmonton Park
  • Metis Crossing
  • North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA)
  • Cows and Fish Alberta Riparian Society
  • River Valley Alliance (RVA)
  • EPCOR Water Utilities Ltd.
  • Travel Alberta
  • Explore Edmonton
  • Paddle Alberta

*Project Lead
**Alberta Community Partnership (ACP) Grant Managing Partner