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.
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
On a weekend this past February, staff from Alberta Environment and Parks teamed up with 8 members of the University of Alberta Outdoors Club to support Catholic Social Services at their annual winter overnight event for immigrants and refugees at the Long Lake Centre near Athabasca. Continue reading
Watch for late-season slides at Rawson Lake and many other popular Kananaskis Country trails. Photo: Duane Fizor.
It may seem counter-intuitive to have to think about bears and avalanche at the same time while exploring the outdoors, but that’s the beauty of adventuring in the Canadian Rockies in spring. Snow can linger in the mountains late into the spring and early summer, but when it’s warm and sunny out, and everything is starting to melt, it’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security: summer is on its way, so we can forget about winter safety hazards, right? Unfortunately, no.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re out there before the snow goes:
Some of the most popular snowshoe and winter hiking trails in Kananaskis Country, even ones that are easily accessible from parking lots and highways, travel through or end in avalanche terrain. Our public safety staff in Kananaskis Region note that as snowshoeing becomes more popular, snowshoers are often venturing into avalanche risk without the proper gear or knowledge.
Check the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) ratings of the area you plan to hike or snowshoe (or ski), and note that anything rated as Simple terrain still has avalanche exposure risk. “The spring snow sport season in the Rockies runs from late March to early May, and very large ‘climax’ avalanches are more common during those months,” says Kananaskis Public Safety Specialist Jeremy Mackenzie, of avalanches that slide after a slow buildup over time. “These slides often reach the valley floor, with the potential to impact Simple terrain.” Continue reading