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
Wolves call the boreal forest around Wolf Lake home. The name and the surrounding area are evocative of the unspoiled nature, mature forest and striking scenery that visitors will find there.
The lake is popular for its simple, quiet and well-maintained campground, as well as other popular activities like berry picking, boating, swimming and water sports. The lake is slightly off the beaten path, and the only development on its shoreline is the campground and access road that were built in 1963. Continue reading
Anglers in Alberta experience world-class fishing today, but this was not always the case.
Starting as early as the 1970s, Alberta’s sport fisheries declined to a shocking degree. Native trout like cutthroat trout and bull trout were rare catches in mountain streams. Lakes once famous for walleye and pike fishing were reduced to shadows of former quality. By the 1980s and 1990s, Alberta walleye fisheries were among the worst in North America; surveys at many lakes reporting 80 per cent of anglers catching nothing during a fishing trip. Angler numbers declined and with them went millions of dollars in lost economic activity. Continue reading
The management of fisheries in Alberta is dynamic and challenging. Especially when considering that Alberta has experienced robust economic and population growth and has only 800 native sport fish-bearing lakes and about 300 waters stocked with non-native trout. In comparison, other provinces such as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have tens, or even hundreds of thousands of fish-bearing lakes.
In addition to meeting the rights of Indigenous peoples, Alberta’s fisheries are also relied upon to provide benefits to more than 300,000 anglers. Fisheries management in Alberta has had to evolve and improve to meet the challenges. Continue reading
Since 2010, Alberta has managed grizzly bears as a Threatened species. The objective is to increase the number of grizzlies on the landscape while reducing risks to people. Efforts focus on measuring and monitoring grizzly bear population health and managing and mitigating human-bear conflicts.
Recent population inventories completed in southwest and west central Alberta show population growth. Preliminary results from Bear Management Area 5 also indicate population increase. While this is a good thing, it makes keeping people and bears safe more challenging because it increases the likelihood of human-bear encounters. Continue reading
‘Wabamun’ is the Cree word for mirror – It’s an apt name for the large, shallow, calm lake situated 60 kilometers west of Edmonton.
For generations, people living in Alberta have enjoyed Wabamun Lake’s natural beaches, beautiful wilderness and recreational opportunities.
For generations, Albertans have enjoyed swimming, sailing and fishing at Wabamun Lake
The area has three sailing clubs, multiple boat launches, and a provincial park. Surrounded by small communities such as Seba Beach, Rich’s Point, and Ascot Beach, Wabamun Lake attracts people for opportunities to go boating, sailing, swimming, wakeboarding and water skiing. Continue reading