Where Things Stand: Continuing the conversation about region's offerings
for Smoky River Express
In response to Rita Maure’s letter to the editor, ‘Village of Donnelly has much to offer the Smoky River region,’ in the Sept. 26 edition of the Smoky River Express, I will add to what I mentioned in my first column from Aug. 15 about what the region has to offer.
Among other things, Maure takes issue with the fact I did not mention Donnelly in the Aug. 15 column and points out the Smoky River Genealogical and Historical Society can be found there.
Also, there is a 15-stall campground in the community and the Smoky River Agricultural Society holds its Ag Fair every other year in Donnelly.
Rest assured, Donnelly was not deliberately left out of my Aug. 15 column. It was not meant to be a slight against the community, where I have resided since April 1.
The column was meant to be an overview of the region and I had only so much space to write about the subject.
Unfortunately, Donnelly was not mentioned in that column. But nor were Guy, Jean Cote and Whitemud.
Also, I will add that I covered the amateur gymkhana event at the Smoky River Ag Society Grounds in Donnelly June 23-24. That event drew a lot of competitors, and it made the July 4 edition of the Smoky River Express. We even created a centre spread about the event on pages 8-9.
I would also like to point out that Crosby Rich, who owns High Prairie Truck and Trailer in High Prairie, was a major sponsor of the event. He provided horse blankets to the first place winners in each category. Rich congratulated Jean Marc Roussin, the event organizer, for his work on it.
Moreover, SRE editor Kevin Laliberte has covered the mud bogs at the same location for years and several preview stories were written about this year’s event.
Also of note, students at Georges P. Vanier in Donnelly participated in the annual Terry Fox Run on Sept. 27. They went from Donnelly to Falher for the event and we got lots of photos of them.
So, in fairness, we ensure Donnelly gets covered like the other communities in the region.
Now, to continue with my conversation about what the region has to offer. It will focus on the hunting season, specifically waterfowling.
On Sept. 24, I had the opportunity to go out with Kevin McNeil of Blue Sky Outfitters in McLennan for a waterfowl hunt. A film crew from Duck Dog Waterfowl in Washington State came up to do a three-day hunt with him. They had an arrangement whereby McNeil provided the hunt for them and they will give him an episode for the Pursuit Channel in the U.S.
The morning segment of the hunt was held and filmed on a quarter-section east of High Prairie. The afternoon segment was held and filmed on a quarter-section east of Jean Cote. McNeil and the film crew had a great time at both locations getting a few dozen ducks and geese.
This area is a major corridor for geese. It is an awesome sight to see thousands and thousands of geese flying overhead and landing in the fields when they’re making their way north or south. Of course, many of them use Kimiwan Lake in McLennan as a stopover.
But it is thanks to the efforts of outfitters like McNeil – and the supporting farmers and landowners – that waterfowling opportunities are abundant here. Near the end of the afternoon hunt on Sept. 24, an unidentified gentleman came by and encouraged McNeil and his group to hunt geese on several pieces of land he owns. They immediately went to check the locations and decided to take him up on his offer. They thanked him for it, too.
Without people like that unidentified gentleman, many waterfowlers wouldn’t be able to harvest their quota of geese and ducks, which can be done in a single morning or afternoon hunt with luck and/or planning. McNeil also points out, many waterfowlers are from outside the region, and they travel all the way here for the experience.
They also purchase goods and services from businesses in the area, thereby contributing significantly to the economy. McNeil uses local businesses as much as possible, too.
Summarily, I feel I have offered an extensive analysis of what the region has to offer – including the activities and facilities that Donnelly has to offer. When other activities and/or facilities come to my attention, I will definitely highlight them.