Business View Magazine | November 2019

132 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2019 AT A GLANCE BARBER FIELD AIRPORT, LA RONGE WHAT: A regional airport WHERE: Near Lake La Ronge in northern Saskatchewan WEBSITE: D AIRPORT, T he Barber Field Airport is located two miles northeast of La Ronge situated on the Canadian Shield of north-central Saskatchewan, Canada, and on the southwestern shore of Lac la Ronge. “I think, sometimes, because we’re in northern Saskatchewan people fail to realize the significance of our Airport,” says Airport Manager, Jim Burr. “But the Airport has had a long and very significant part in the development of aviation in the Canadian north, and particularly northern Saskatchewan. Before there was a road here, people were accessing this community by airplanes or river systems.” The first La Ronge airstrip was built by Canada’s Department of Natural Resources in 1947 and used for mail freight and forest fire patrol. It was located just south of the Montreal River bridge, in what is now known as the northern Village of Air Ronge. “That first airport grew to have scheduled and charter flights. It was also used as a base in the development of smoke jumpers,” says Burr. Canada’s first smoke jumping base was founded in La Ronge in 1949. Parachuters were trained to jump from aircraft for initial attack on the front lines of active fires. The economic growth and development of the ‘70s in northern Saskatchewan demanded the construction of a new airport that could support the growing aviation industry. In 1976, the current Airport was constructed by Transport Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan just north of La Ronge. With a 5,000-ft. paved runway with instrument approach, and a 2,400-ft crosswind runway with non-instrument approach, the Airport is equipped with a 24-hour flight service station. It was named after Jim Barber, a Flight Lieutenant The aviation hub of northern Saskatchewan