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People were jumping the gun all over the place in the days leading up to the official ‘community clean-up week.’ That was supposed to start on May 4 and go to May 11. Lots of trash got cleaned up on May 2 and 3, the first weekend of the month and some of it was being left by the side of the street in bags. That’s not how it was supposed to go this year, with the town short-staffed. They wanted people to bring the bags to the MRC, where a dumpster was set up.
But it’s all to the good. You can’t hold it against people for wanting to get out and get something done. Picking up after other people is annoying, but the satisfaction of seeing clean streets and boulevards and parks and ditches more than makes up for it. It’s too bad they won’t stay that way.

Lots of work going on over at Big Fish Bay, we saw last week on a cruise through there. There would be anyway at this time of year, but they have plans to hugely increase the number of camping stalls, so there’s going to be plenty happening over there. Good luck to them and let’s hope we have a relatively dry summer (but not too dry).

This just in: Lesser Slave Lake is the 43rd largest lake in Canada, by surface area. By volume it’s probably ranked much lower, due to its relatively shallow depth. But we couldn’t find any ranking by volume. Man-made reservoirs, on the other hand, are ranked by volume. Williston Lake, which is held back by a pile of rocks called the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River, has 74 cubic kilometres of water in it, on average. That’s eighth biggest in the world. Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe and Zambia has around 180 cubic kilometres of water in it.

Nobody was happier in town last week than Tony Griffi, the manager of Gilwood Golf Club.
“Terrific!” he said, when we called to ask how it was going after the province lifted restrictions and the driving range opened. He said 50 to 60 people per day were showing up to hit balls and some were renewing memberships. Tony figures the front nine will open this week and the back nine (still quite wet when we talked) would open a week or so later.

We recently acquired a couple of maps of the region showing historical forest fires. It gives you quite a lot to think about, seeing all those big, odd-shaped blotches of red and orange covering so much of the landscape. One thing you wonder about is when the untouched sections of forest are going to have their turn. The one map covers the period 1931 – 2019. The biggest fire shown was last year’s McMillan Complex (still officially an active fire, by the way). The 1968 Vega Fire was big but only about half of it was in the Slave Lake district. The Mitsue/Chisholm fires (mostly the same area) was one of the bigger ones. The 2011 fires were puny by comparison, but are famous because they burned homes in four communities.

A couple of news items popped up late in the week and we didn’t have space for them elsewhere. One was about a vehicle fire at or near Faust. Somebody sent photos that showed a pickup truck looking as if it had been burned. There was also a helicopter in the frame, but no explanation was provided.
Then there was a call to let us know the Whitefish Lake First Nation had set up a COVID checkpoint (or maybe more than one) on Hwy. 750, to control access to the community. This is similar to what Bigstone Cree Nation and the M.D. of Opportunity were doing in the Wabasca area. We did not get this from official sources, but from somebody who knows somebody who was stopped on the way into or out of Atikameg.
Finally, on the COVID front, a rumoured case in Driftpile turned out to be false. According to our source, somebody was sick, but testing revealed it wasn’t with the COVID virus.

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