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Tłı̨chǫ Highway Opens Access To Whatì Falls, Residents Suggest Building Campground

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As the Tłı̨chǫ Highway opens in a few days, Whatì residents (Northwest Territories) will enjoy a year-round road connection to other parts of the region.

According to a report, this also means that nature lovers can easily go to Whatì Falls, a scenic summer picnic spot where locals gather with their families and friends during the weekend.

“It’s really beautiful,” said Joseph Moosenose, a former Whatì community councilor. “It’s two falls with an island in the middle. By the end of September, when the color changes on the leaves, does it ever look beautiful.”

The Whatì community and the Tłı̨chǫ Government are getting ready for an influx of visitors. A large portion of the initial work on the site will be focused on safety, such as the construction of a rock barrier and fence surrounding a cliff near the popular viewpoint, Moosenose said. A trailer could also be set up to track the number of visitors to the area.

Mark Poskitt, a land-use planner with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, said there are plans to upgrade the access road and create a day-use zone.

Whatì Falls, also known as La Martre Falls, is situated outside of the boundaries of the local government. It falls under the Tłı̨chǫ Government’s area of responsibility. As construction started on the highway, the Tłı̨chǫ Government began to ask Whatì residents via workshops and surveys to provide suggestions for Whatì Falls.

Poskitt stated that residents suggested the idea of having a campground. However, the talks are in the beginning stage, and some elders warned against jumping into the idea.

“There’s a lot of questions still to answer with the campground,” he said. “It’s probably going to still need a bit more work before we make any firm commitments to that. And it’s going to take a bit more engagement and some deciding where it will be if it’s going to be at all, or how it might be operated.”

Poskitt was aware that a campground would be a Tłı̨chǫ-led venture which is not considered to be a territorial campground.

“It’s the first kind of park on this scale, where there’s an established day-use area and considerations for campgrounds,” he said. “That hasn’t happened before anywhere in Tłı̨chǫ territory.”

The 97-kilometer Tłı̨chǫ Highway is scheduled to be opened to the public on November 30.

Original Article:

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