If all goes according to plan, Ali Howard will become the first person to swim the Skeena River on Saturday, when she’s scheduled to arrive at the waterway’s terminus in Port Edward.

The resort chef and former water polo player embarked on the 28-day, 610-kilometre journey on July 21 to raise awareness of threats to the Skeena watershed from potential industrial projects.

“The Skeena is one of North America’s most magnificent rivers,” Howard said.

“I’ve come to know the river well during this swim and have seen firsthand the wildlife it supports.”

“I’m hoping my swim will launch a community dialogue that will help to permanently safeguard the watershed from developments that threaten its ecosystem.”

Howard has spent nine hours a day in the water wearing a dry suit and helmet, and was followed by a crew in two kayaks and two rafts.

A community celebration is planned to start at noon in Port Edward to welcome the swimmer.