Nestled in the heart of the boreal forest, on the western shore of Lac La Ronge and on the edge of the Canadian Shield, sits one of Saskatchewan’s most underrated communities.
“Prince Albert may have coined the phrase, but the town of La Ronge truly is the ‘Gateway to the North,’” said town councillor Matt Klassen.
The community boasts world class cross country skiing, biking and hiking trails. The snowmobiling, boating, canoeing and fishing opportunities are endless and second to none thanks to hundreds of lakes surrounding the area.
“One industry that has remained virtually untapped is tourism,” said Klassen. “Yes, we have a few hunting and fishing outfitters, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of what this town can offer for tourism. The opportunities are truly endless.”
Lac La Ronge is one of the biggest lakes in the province at 70 kilometres across and over 1000 kilometres of shoreline. There are also 1300 islands. The lake hosts 24 species of fish including the most popular sport fishing species. Many of the 330 cabins that line the shoreline are used year round and many are only accessible by boat in the summer or snowmobile or ice road in the winter, which adds a sense of adventure to the northern experience.
“The lake life here is truly spectacular…from experiencing the sunsets and bright starry nights to the Aurora Borealis [northern lights] or swimming on soft sand beaches and diving from bedrock outcrops,” said Klassen.
The town of La Ronge offers a multitude of services including a very progressive and rapidly expanding Northlands College, a large health centre, several restaurants including a brand new Dairy Queen, contractors in nearly every trade, two helicopter bases and airlines that operate out of the town airport. La Ronge has the largest forest fire management branch and is home base to many mining and exploration companies that service the entire north. It is also home to the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Drayton Thunder Chief, 19, recently became the first Indigenous player to be named Captain in the team’s franchise history.
A complete changeover in the town council last October has led to a very strong and passionate council according to Klassen.
“This summer, two major projects were completed; a large paving project and a massive upgrade to our sewer stations which includes backup generators so that we can keep the water on when we have power failures.”
Klassen admits the economy is somewhat slow, but said the town is taking steps to turn that around with different plans and perspectives that will include how to best take advantage of tourism opportunities. La Ronge and some neighbouring towns are also addressing issues with alcohol through a Community Alcohol Management Plan (CAMP). Both the La Ronge and District Chamber of Commerce and the Town of La Ronge have hosted public forums and used surveys to engage the public and receive resident input on the matter. They plan to compile the data and make decisions early in the new year on which points will be supported and to what level they will be enforced.
Klassen said ,”This is very exciting and groundbreaking news that could set precedence and has attracted attention from all over the country.”
All in all, La Ronge is a progressive town with an abundance of natural beauty and opportunity.
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