Salt River Day Use Area is Getting a Makeover

Issued: August 20, 2020

Aug 18 2020. Fort Smith, NT - Day use visitors to Wood Buffalo National Park will notice construction at the park’s popular day use area at Salt River. Contractors will soon be working to replace the deteriorated picnic shelter with new facilities that will serve people using the picnic area or planning to hike on the Salt Pan Lake, Karstland or Benchmark Creek trails. In the short term this work will impact parking access to the trailhead, but in the longer term this will be a major improvement to the visitor experience in this iconic Wood Buffalo location.


Images: Left: Old picnic shelter. Right, artists rendition of new picnic shelter.

During construction:

  • Hiking access and parking for the upper parking lot will be reduced to a few spots only.
  • Access at the lower parking lot will be unaffected by construction activity.
  • If parking is full or unavailable, plan on starting from the Grosbeak Lake trailhead instead (no washroom) 2.4 kilometres further south, down the road.

What does construction involve?

  • Contractors removed the old circular picnic shelter in early August and are replacing it with a high quality new facility with more space for groups and programming.
  • Contractors will need to close large portions of the picnic area and will establish an overnight camp on location to safeguard gear and equipment.
  • Construction activity is expected to last several months, ending in October 2020.

Visitors should:

  • Respect posted boundaries, signage and closures while using the area
  • If parking is full or unavailable, park at lower parking or Grosbeak Lake trailhead instead
  • Continue practicing physical distancing guidelines in light of COVID-19

Other places for a park picnic include:

  • Salt Plains, Pine Lake and Angus Sinkhole picnic areas
  • Queen Elizabeth and Little Buffalo River Falls Territorial Parks
  • Hike the Salt River Meadows Trails for a cliff-top river view and relax in the Red Chairs

For more information, please call/email: melissa.zimmer@canada.ca / Tel: 867-872-0170