Seton’s planned trip to the Arctic Prairies made news as it was underway. His adventure was covered by the Edmonton Evening Journal. This article comes from the Seton archives at the Academy for the Love of Learning.
Edmonton Evening Journal, May 8, 1907
Prepared for their one-thousand-mile canoe trip northeast from Edmonton to the barren lands beyond the tree limit, Ernest Thompson Seton, the famous writer of animal stories, and Edward A. Preble, representing the Biological Survey of the United States, arrived in the city last night, and are guests at the Alberta Hotel. They expect to leave to-night or to-morrow morning on their northward trip and will be absent for about six months.
The ultimate destination of these gentlemen is the barren lands lying to the north and east of Great Slave Lake. In order to reach this point the travelers will proceed by stage to Athabaska Landing. From Athabaska Landing they go directly to Athabasca lake and thence by Slave river to Great Slave lake. From the lake, they will proceed by canoe north and east, beginning there their real work. The entire summer will be spent in paddling through a network of rivers and lakes of the country, every opportunity being taken to study the conditions which obtain there.
This trip will probably be one of the most important to Canadians ever made by these gentlemen. Mr. Preble has already visited the northern country three time and has spent one winter there. He is the best living authority on the natural history of Northern Canada, and is especially versed in the science of crop condition and agricultural zones on which he is preparing an exhaustive treatise. He will also gather data that will be of great value to the Biological Survey.
Sitting in his room in the Alberta Hotel this morning Mr. Seton spoke in general terms of the aims and objects of his trip to the barren lands. “One of my primary objects,” said he, “is zoological exploration. In addition to this, however, I shall carefully collect information on everything that sheds light on the commercial value and industrial future of this country. I occupy the position of official naturalist of Manitoba [page torn] while rarely in my of [page torn] yet on this trip I [page torn] in my duties as a Canadian official in order to gather anything that may be of practical value in promoting the commercial prosperity of the Northwest. I shall particularly study the birds, fishes, beasts, insects, etc., that abound in that country. Some attention will be paid to the flowers also, as I understand that they are famous for their beauty. One botanist assured me that the flowers of the barren lands were immensely more varied, profuse and beautiful than those of Florida.”
The naturalists will return to the east after six months’ stay in the north. Mr. Seton stated that a book might possibly be the result of his trip to the barren lands.