on dynamic Strathcona County, Cooking Lake - Blackfoot Grazing,
Wildlife Provincial Recreation Area is a unique Alberta landscape
... 97 sq kms (37 sq miles) of backcountry, located directly south
of and adjacent to the Elk
Island National Park boundary, just 40 minutes east
of Alberta's capital city.
Forest Reserve was Canada's first, established in 1895.
access to the Blackfoot is from the Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway
16 north of the area, or from Wye Road to the south. County roads
connect the staging areas to the highways.
This special natural
area includes 170 kms (105 miles) of maintained walking, hiking,
mountain biking, equestrian, nordic skiing, snowshoeing and dog
sledding trails for day use.
Please note overnight
activities and camping are not available.
and bird watching opportunities are available year round in this
multi-use area. Non-recreation activities include livestock grazing,
trapping, aboriginal and seasonal hunting and some resource development.
There are 4 staging
areas complete with all-weather shelters, and warm-up stoves,
washrooms, fire pits and picnic facilities.
riders, mountain bikers, nature photographers, bird watchers, orienteers,
snowshoers, x-country skiers, skaters, canoeists … discover Alberta's
best kept secret … right in Edmonton's own backyard ... wwtg
fires swept the Beaver Hills area between 1892 and 1895. The rash
of prairie fires, some natural and others man-made, led to the setting
aside of 6 townships in the Beaver Hills by the Canadian Government
to protect the wood supply.
is home to a wide variety of wildlife, birds, plants and fauna call
Blackfoot home. Mammals include moose, elk, mule and whitetail deer,
coyote, beaver, foxes, muskrat, weasel, skunk and red squirrels.
also be alert to the possibility of observing or encountering bear,
cougar, lynx and the odd wolf.
flora, fauna and a variety of landscapes will challenge your photographic
There are 19 trails
to explore in Blackfoot, offering varying distances and degree of
challenge. See the Summer Trails details. No horses on hiking trails
Blackfoot is home
to more than 200 species of birds. Most are migratory, either breeding
in the area or passing through in Spring and Fall. A complete list
of the Birds of Blackfoot is provided by the Friends of Blackfoot
Society and is available at the Interpretive Centre located at the
Waskehegan (RR 210) entrance.
Each year Blackfoot
hosts the Ultra Martathon, a four leg 25 kms per leg long distance
cross country running event.
En plein air is a French expression
meaning "in the open air", and is particularly used to describe
the act of painting in the outside environment rather than indoors.
Blackfoot provides some spectacular landscapes.
has a rich history in First Nations. This pristine backcountry area
was a major hunting ground for the Sarcee, Cree and Blackfoot tribes.
Alberta has much to offer the world with Aboriginal heritage by showcasing
10,000 years of tradition.
There are 85 kms of equestrian
trails available to riders; several fund raiser "Rides for Cancer"
take place each year.
horses on hiking trails please.
The annual Canadian Birkebeiner
Ski Festival is held on the 2nd Saturday every February. The "Birkie"
is the largest x-country ski event in North America.
event is one of three in the World. The original historic one in Lillehammer,
Norway, the second largest in Hayward, Wisconsin and of course this
one. This actual event is inspired by Norwegian Warriors. In 1206
they carried the little Prince Haakon travelling on skis wearing birch
bark leggings. They travelled 55km to safety over mountain terrain
in the dead of winter to save him from the raging civil war. Rescuing
the Prince turned well; upon being crowned King of Norway, the civil
trails provide scenic winter backcountry adventures for mushing and
Hunters in Blackfoot
MUST obtain a
firearms discharge permit and attend an orientation
session held at the Park Office located in the Waskehegan staging
area; various dates are available September through November, Discharge
permits are issued at the orientation sessions. To register, call
(780) 922 3293. Discharging firearms is not permitted within 400 metres
of main staging areas or within 200 metres of Meadow, Lost Lake and
Running Dog shelters; obtain a site map for staging area and shelter
locations. Motorized vehicles are not permitted
beyond staging areas. Elk Island National Park abuts the
north boundary of the recreation area (a 7-foot fence running east
to west between EINP and Blackfoot delineates the boundary); hunting
in a national park can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and/or 6
months imprisonment. Hunting is not permitted
on Sundays in Blackfoot.
Geo-caching is a popular
outdoor activity in Blackfoot. Geo-cachers are requested to contact
the Park Office prior to placing any caches in the Park, to ensure
their placement are conducive with Parks and Protected Areas needs
and protocols. Off trail caches, where bushwacking is required, are
Blackfoot was one of
many Alberta special places included in the outstanding Calgary Herald
Magazine series exploring Alberta's next century.(Issue 3 "our beautiful
backyard" ~ Sep 06)
The Waskahegan Trail
is a 245 km long volunteer managed wilderness trail allowing excellent
day hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing in
the Edmonton area. Blackfoot is part of the trail network and is used
frequently for WTA member activities.
Beaver Hills Dark
A partnership among Parks
Canada (Elk Island National Park), Alberta Parks and Protected Areas
(Cooking Lake/Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area), and the Royal
Astronomical Society of Canada, the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve
was officially declared on September 3, 2006 at Elk Island's "Celebration
of the Century", marking the hundredth anniversary of Canada's first
game preserve and still Canada's only fenced national park.
The Kettle Cross Enduro
is a bicycle race that takes place every September on the twisting,
fast, and fun trails in the Blackfoot Recreation Area. This is a race
specifically designed to engage novice cyclists and first-time racers.There
is no single-track, no technical downhills, and no technical climbs.
There might be mud, depending on the weather before and during the
race, and there will definitely be miles and miles of fast roller
coaster hills and turns sculpted through a setting of parkland forest,
wetlands, and lakes.
Cattle grazing has occurred
in Blackfoot since the 1920's; the Blackfoot Grazing Association was
formed in 1948. Livestock grazing is confined to fenced pasture over
7 individual fields and covering an area of 2,875 hectares (7,104
Hills Country explores a relatively small but interesting and unusual
region of Alberta between the North Saskatchewan and the Battle Rivers.
The Beaver Hills arose where mountain glaciers from the west met continental
ice-sheets from the east. An overview of the hills’ geography helps
us to see the complexity and diversity of landscapes, soil types,
and vegetation communities. The author, Graham A. MacDonald relates
how climatic cycles, water availability, wildlife, vegetation, and
fire have shaped the possibilities and provided the challenges to
those who have called the region home or used its resources: Indigenous
people, Métis, and European immigrants.
Congratulations to Jim & Ruth Shewfelt, recipients of the Alberta Fish and Game Association
Lifetime Achievment Award at the 2011 Annual Conference. Jim & Ruth are lifetime members
of the Friends of Blackfoot Society.