Located just outside Fort Smith, there are walking trails leading to views of the Slave River. Rapids on Slave River are a world-class venue for white water kayaking and rafting. White Pelicans nest on islands in the river each summer, one of the northernmost colonies of these magnificent birds. The two best places to watch the pelicans are at Mountain Rapids and the Rapids of the Drowned. Are you interested in reptiles? One of the fascinating natural features of this area is the annual cycle of the red-sided garter snake. There are few reptiles in the Northwest Territories - not the easiest place for a cold-blooded creature to flourish. The red-sided garter snake is at the northern limit of its range here. They spend an extended winter hibernating underground in the karst limestone sinkholes that underlie this region - places where flowing acidic water has eroded fissures & caves in the soft rock. In the spring, the snakes emerge en masse from their hibernaculum (nest). They writhe together in 'mating balls', before they disperse into the surrounding marshlands for the summer. The red sided garter snake is a protected species, so please leave them where they belong.