Northern Lights

Volume 30

Number 1 Spring 1970

White Sand Dam viewed from house. "Break-up" above White Sand.

Plane at White Sand dock at low water. Les Anderson delivering supplies.


OUR story and pictures for this issue are about Whitesand, located on the Reindeer River, eight miles south of Reindeer Lake, and 70 miles northwest of Island Falls, Saskatchewan on the Churchill River.

Reindeer Lake is CRP's main water storage area. The Whitesand Dam was constructed in 1942 for the purpose of controlling the flow during times of heavy precipitation and run-off, thus holding a reserve for dry periods. Of the average 20,000 cubic feet of water per second passing Island Falls, 12,000 come from this reserve.

The Churchill River was named after John Churchill, third Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company and an ancestor of the late Sir Winston Churchill.

The Churchill watershed above Island Falls extends west to Central Alberta. It covers some 80,000 square miles of which 25,000 is taken up by the Reindeer Lake watershed.

At one point the water flows into the McKenzie River as well as the Churchill, and at another, when the water level is high, part of the flow enters the Saskatchewan System.

Unlike most rivers which have regular channels, the Churchill is a series of lakes and bays, and when boating on the Churchill, it is hard to believe it really is a river except for the short channels between the lakes.

The life of the river and our plant depends on precipitation over the watershed. A point not often thought about in this connection is that over three-quarters of the precipitation is taken up in evaporation and plant growth. When we realize that the roaring, swirling water below the Island Falls Plant, rushing by at over 20,000 CFS day after day, represents less than one-quarter of the moisture falling from the clouds, it reminds us of the importance of nature's contribution to our way of life.

Nature also "paints" beautiful scenery. The banks of the Churchill, especially in the Fall, lined with spruce, poplar, jackpine and birch present a breath-taking picture.

Bosak & Beetle tractor loading aircraft.

Loading Beetle tractor.

Two little elves bundled up in wintertime.
The Ulriksen family at Whitesand, summer 1969.

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