Whenever we find ourselves stuck in traffic, crawling through a restaurant drive-thru, or waiting for passengers, our vehicles’ engines idle and spew harmful pollutants into the atmosphere – pollutants that eventually make their way into our air, water and soil.
We generally don’t give idling much thought, but its cost to the environment, our communities, our health and our pocketbooks cannot be understated.
When it comes to boreal lakes in Northern Alberta, Wadlin Lake is as good an example as you will find.
A gravel road and a modest campground operated by Mackenzie County are the only man-made features along the shore of this stunning 1,900 hectare lake.
The nearest settlement is the town of Fort Vermilion. Fort Vermilion, established on the banks of the Peace River in 1788, is one of Alberta’s two oldest European settlements. Continue reading
The new Graves Wildlife Sanctuary Trail is a triumph of thoughtful planning.
The six-meter wide trail winds its way through 300 acres of near-pristine old-growth forest just north of Pigeon Lake. The scenic 2.3 kilometre trail meanders through various ecosystems. Continue reading
Summer is in full swing, and Albertans are making the most of it. It’s time for fun in the sun, drinks on patios, trips to lakes and pools, and barbeques. Even so, everyday decisions have impacts on the environment and affect the quality of the air we breathe. We all share responsibility for clean air and ensuring healthy communities and ecosystems. Luckily, there are many things you can do to move with the air in mind this summer, whether out on a road trip or enjoying a staycation!
Move yourself using human-powered transportation.
Move smart using fuel efficient practices when driving.
Whenever the air is hazy, or the smell of engine exhaust or smoke from a forest fire lingers, many Albertans wonder what effects poor air quality is having on their health.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a tool that helps inform people about the present quality of outdoor air, and helps them decide how to manage their outdoor activities so they are not injured by air pollution.
From its rugged and remote upper reaches to its meandering path to join the South Saskatchewan River, the Oldman River watershed is known for its stunning natural beauty.
In the alpine tundra and old-growth spruce and fir forests of the Beehive Natural Area, three creeks (Hidden, Dutch and Racehorse creeks) converge at Three Rivers Gap to form the Oldman River. The river runs from southwest to northeast, with a dip south across the border into Glacier National Park.
Numerous campgrounds and parks along the river’s route provide access for fishing, rafting, canoeing, nature watching and… rock skipping.
How many fish can be sustainably harvested from an Alberta lake? To answer that question, you need a basic understanding of biological economics. Let’s start by asking some straightforward questions:
- How many fish are in a lake?
- How many fish do you want to be there?
- What is the annual interest rate (the surplus population growth rate)?
- How necessary or important is reinvestment of fish back to the population?
In the summer months it is not unusual to notice that the sky is a little hazier and the smell of smoke lingers in the air. Forest fires are a common occurrence during the Western Canadian summer and degrade air quality throughout our province. Smoke and ash from 2016’s Fort McMurray fire reached thousands of kilometres away – even as far as the U.K. and Spain.
While a devastating fire can make the far-reaching impact of pollution obvious, consistent emissions from our homes, cars, and industry regularly affect air quality here at home. Fortunately, there is a comprehensive system in place to monitor and address these emissions so air quality is maintained at an acceptable standard.
For more than a century, Albertans have enjoyed boating, sailing, fishing, hiking and bird watching on and around Lake Newell. But until 1914, there was no lake there.
Lake Newell is actually a reservoir created after Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) built the Bassano Dam as part of the ‘Eastern Irrigation’ system designed to entice settlers to the naturally semi-arid area.
The dam was so successful that it was raised in 1934, and today Lake Newell is one of Alberta’s largest reservoirs. The the lake’s surface area fluctuates, but is usually about 6.5 kilometres wide and 14 kilometres long. At its deepest point, it’s about 20 metres deep.
Figure 1 – Until 1914, this beautiful Alberta lake didn’t exist.
Prospector’s Point is a great lookout at Imrie Park
Many Albertans may be surprised to learn that Imrie Park is, technically speaking, not a provincial park.
Located a half-hour drive northwest of Edmonton, it’s a beautiful natural area with camping opportunities, a picnic area, groomed trails and places to observe wildlife. Most people visiting Imrie Park will not notice that it’s different than other provincial parks.
So, if Imrie Park looks like a provincial park, operates like a provincial park, and is even called a park, why isn’t it one? Continue reading