La Ronge


The community of La Ronge is located in the geographic centre of Saskatchewan as the largest settlement north of Prince Albert. In 1948, Highway 2 was completed and connected the two cities, changing the perception of the northern area from water-based to highway-based travel. There is a distance of 234 kilometers (150 miles, approximately 3.5 driving hours) between the two cities. La Ronge is located at the end of Highway 2 on the western edge of the sizeable Lac La Ronge, near the mouth of the Montreal River.

A large First Nations population resides on the First Nations lands of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band which are adjacent to the city of La Ronge. The landscape surrounding the area is defined by the presence of the lake and its surrounding waterways. The classic Precambrian topography includes the rock bands, boreal forests and muskeg that immediately encompass the settled areas. The area of La Ronge has an extensive First Nations heritage of mostly Cree speaking people. Due to its situation on the shore of Lac La Ronge as well as the banks of the Montreal River, the area has historically functioned as a crossroads for travelers and a centre for trade.

La Ronge'­s geographic location between the lake, river, muskeg and forest have provided the many generations of residents with an abundance of fish and wild game to eat and subsequently, pelts to sell and trade. Due to its location as a tributary of the Churchill River System, La Ronge has also been a place of importance for not only the Native inhabitants but also the trappers, traders and explorers that made their way through the Canadian North during the late 18th century.

The Hudson’s Bay Company first established their presence in the area in 1797 with a trading post to better serve the trappers in the area. The first missionaries arrived in 1845 and immediately began establishing The Anglican Church of Canada in La Ronge.  In 1856, the Holy Trinity Church at Stanley Mission (north east of La Ronge) was constructed and remains the oldest building in Saskatchewan. With an established trading post and church presence, the La Ronge area became a place of settlement especially during winter months where business was conducted and children attended school. 

In 1889, Chief James Roberts representing the Lac La Ronge Indian Band signed an adherence to Treaty Six.  “Treaty Days” are still celebrated each spring in La Ronge. 

Industries such as fishing, logging, wild rice production and mining played have played key roles in the development of the area and continue, in a variety of forms, into the present.

This community'­s experience with a significant wildfire in the last 10 years and the resulting evacuations, property damages and losses made it an excellent candidate for resiliency research. Working with the community of La Ronge provides the opportunity to examine the ability of local governments to create secure, thriving settlements after a disaster, and the effect of such efforts on resiliency.

This project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Past members of the research team who were part of this project were: John Clague, Dave Hutton, Murray McKay Jennifer Hounjet, Doris Halkett Morin, Carmen Pauls-Orthner, Carolyn McTighe, and Gisele Woods (transcriber).


For more information about La Ronge

The Lac LaRonge Indian Band
The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture
The Town of La Ronge Municipal Website
La Ronge and District Chamber of Commerce
Northern Village of Air Ronge


Research dissemination

‘Lessons learned’ booklet:

  1. Kulig, J., A. Kimmel, A. Gullacher, B. Reimer, I. Townshend, D.S. Edge, N. Lightfoot, M. McKay, M. Barnett, J. Clague & A. Coghlan. (2010). Mallard Fire: Lessons Learned. Retrieved from 

Technical reports:

  1. Kulig, J., W. Reimer, I. Townshend, D. Edge, N. Lightfoot. (2011). Understanding Links between Wildfires and Community Resiliency: Lessons Learned for Disaster Preparation and Mitigation. Lethbridge, AB: University of Lethbridge.
  2. Kulig, J., W. Reimer, I. Townshend, D. Edge, N. Lightfoot, A. Kimmel & E. Hosgood. (2010). Report of the Household Survey: La Ronge, SK. Lethbridge, AB. University of Lethbridge.
  3. Kulig, J., W. Reimer, I. Townshend, D. Edge, N. Lightfoot, A. Kimmel & E. Hosgood. (2010). Report of the Household Survey: Coaldale, AB. Lethbridge, AB. University of Lethbridge.


  1. Kulig, J., W. Reimer, I. Townshend, D. Edge & N. Lightfoot. (2011). Rural communities facing disasters: What have we learned? Municipal World 121(5), 23 – 29.

Academic presentations:

  1. March 21, 2011. Lethbridge, AB. Rural Health: Expanding our Horizons through a Community-Based Research Program. University Scholar Presentation, University of Lethbridge.
  2. March 11-16, 2011. Tempe, United States. On the Structure of Perceived Resiliency & Community Cohesion in Wildfire Communities. Resilience 2011: Second International Science and Policy Conference.
  3. November 3, 2010. Lethbridge, AB. Disasters, Resilience and Rural Communities: Lessons Learned. As part of the “Post-Disaster Response: Research into Community Resiliency after Wildfires.” CIHR Café Scientifique.
  4. September 23-25, 2010. Fredericton, NB. Rural Community Resiliency, Wildfires and Disaster Preparedness: Policy Implications for Canada. Canadian Rural Health Research Society 9th Annual Conference.
  5.   May 25, 2010. Virtual panel presentation. Community Resiliency: Applying the Concept to Rural Communities. Diversity in Action: Resilient Rural Communities. Rural Women New Zealand, National Conference 2010.
  6. April 27-29, 2010. San Antonio, United States. Community Resiliency as a Response to Wildfires: Canadian Case Examples. 2nd Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference.
  7. March 9, 2010. Biose, United States. Learning about Community Resiliency through Wildfire Research. Department of Nursing, Boise State University.
  8. October 15-17, 2009. Kingston, ON. Community Resiliency & Response to Wildfires: Stories from Barriere & La Ronge. Canadian Rural Health Research Society 8th Annual Conference.


  1. Kulig Study a Blueprint for Recovery. The Legend, The University of Lethbridge. June, 2011.
  2. Seeking to Understand. Snapshot, U of L Faculty of Health Sciences Newsletter. Spring, 2011.
  3. Exploring Health Horizons Through Community-Based Research. Lethbridge Herald (The Public Professor). March 19, 2011.
  4. Falling Through the Cracks. Corporate Knights (magazine). Fall, 2010.
  5. La Ronge Forest Fire Nearly Done. MBC Radio. September 3, 2010.
  6. Wildfire study reports. Star Journal. October 6, 2008.
  7. La Ronge Mallard Fire subject of wildfire study. The Northerner. January 31, 2008.
  8. La Ronge wildfire study. CBC La Ronge, Keewatin Country with Tom Roberts. January 25, 2008.
  9. La Ronge wildfire study. CBC Regina, Morning Show with Sheila Coles. January 25, 2008.
  10. La Ronge wildfire study. CBC La Ronge, Keewatin Country with Tom Roberts. January 24, 2008.
  11. La Ronge wildfire study. CKBI (radio). January 23, 2008.
  12. La Ronge wildfire study. NBC (radio). January 23, 2008.

Public presentations:

  1. May 10, 2010 - Coaldale, AB. Presentation of study results to Coaldale community members and town council members.
  2. March 8, 2010 - Biose, United States. Presentation of study results to academics and general public at the Boise State University.
  3. October 15-17, 2008 - La Ronge, SK. Presenation of qualitative interview findings to La Ronge community members and town council members.