Saturday, June 19, 2010
MacDonald Island sits at the north end of the city, its northern tip marking the confluence of the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers. It's known to locals as "Fort McMurray's Island Playground." (You can find the Suncor Community Leisure Centre aka the rec centre here along with a pretty nice golf course.) Initially, I was puzzled how "Mac Island" although called an island, technically isn't an island. It's joined to the rest of the city by a short neck of land. And in between is a small inlet of water called the Snye. (It sounds like the name of a creature from a 3rd-rate 1950's flick.)
I first saw the Snye 7 or 8 years ago when I first ventured through Fort McMurray. It wasn't really a river (though I've seen it noted as such in a few articles I've read). It just seemed to be some weird appendage of the Clearwater. It's a popular spot for all manner of outdoor pursuits from canoeing and kayaking in the summer to snowmobiling and pond hockey in the winter. Even float planes take off and land on it. (It's also a pretty good place to view some water fowl).
Turns out the Snye, isn't a natural creation. It was formed back in the mid-60's when a dike was built connecting it to the rest of town. Man-made or not, I have a certain fondness for the place and it contributes nicely to both the natural surroundings and recreational needs of our fair town.
The picture above is a view to the east with MacDonald Island to the left and mainland on the right.