We spent a few days in Grand Falls-Windsor after we left Twillingate. Grand Falls-Windsor is pretty much in the center of Newfoundland, geographically speaking.
The Road To Grand Falls-Windsor
The road to Grand Falls-Windsor was beautiful. As all of Newfoundland generally has been.
Grand Falls-Windsor sits along the Exploits River and with the help of the river and the railroad, was once a thriving paper mill town. The paper mill shut down not that long ago in February 2009. The paper mill first chose Grand Falls-Windsor because of the huge forest north and the river access to float the logs to the mill. The 100 foot falls also served as a hydro plant to energize all the machinery in the mill.
The Exploits river, which runs through Grand Falls-Windsor is the largest river in Newfoundland. Traveling all the way from Notre Dame Bay in the north (where we kayaked at Sea Knife Kayak) to the Long Range Mountains in the west. Historically it was first used by the Beothucks Indians for travel. Then over the last 100 years it was an industrial river. Moving logs to the paper mill.
One of the main attractions in Grand Falls-Windsor is the Salmonid Interpretation Center.
The Salmonid Interpretation Center was built to try to bring the natural Atlantic Salmon population back. The Atlantic Salmon numbers were starting to dwindle because of the hydro station that the paper mill had built to power their machinery and the hydro dam the town had built. These two obstacles made it difficult for the salmon to reach their natural breeding grounds. They were essentially cut off.
The Salmonid Interpretation Center built fish ladders and redirected the water for the salmon to reach these breeding grounds. And we all know, redirecting a river is not a small task. OK…so maybe you don’t know first hand. But imagine. Redirecting a river that drains over 11,000 km, or over 6800 miles. That’s huge!
David Standing On The Side Walk Grates. Below Are The Fish Ladders And The Re-Routed Water For The Salmon To Make Their Way Up-Stream.
David Watching The Salmon Swim Up-Stream Using The Fish Ladders Through The Re-Routed Waterway.
The Observation Tank From Above
You can walk all along the grates that cover these fish ladders and watch the salmon swim up the re-routed stream.
The above picture is the holding tank that the salmon make their way to, from the ladders. Here the Salmonid Interpretation Center can count the salmon as well as research them. This way they can determine how fish the population is growing and how healthy they are.
Below that holding tank are observation windows that you can watch the salmon. It’s pretty interesting. Once in a while they get an eel that made it’s way up stream to feed on the baby salmon. We did not see one though. On the opposite wall the center has smaller tanks with some babies. This helps to guarantee that some babies will survive and carry on the population.
The Beginning Of The Re-Routed River And Salmon Ladders
We had a wonderful day with blue skies and sunshine. It was an interesting place to visit.
Before we all left Grand Falls-Windsor, we got together for a group dinner.
You can see where the salmon ladders begin. The Salmonid Interpretation Center installed some sort of guide to get the salmon to go this route. This way they don’t try the falls with the hydro plant.
As you can see, the falls are pretty strong. This time of year it is unusual to have such strong falls. But with such a wet spring and heavy winter, the area is still getting a lot of run off.
The Falls In Grand Falls-Windsor
This is the whole gang at our pot luck spaghetti dinner. Evelyn and Terry, Gladys and Curtis, David and myself, Michele and Doug, Sandy and Ron, and Lana with David (her David not mine) taking the picture.
We had a wonderful time telling our various stories that we’ve done. Things we miss. Things we have seen. Things we have bought. Sharing our most memorable moments.
This is what traveling with friends is all about.