Alsike and Bat Lake are two separate quarter section protected areas that are part of the natural area of the same name. A winter visit brings mostly good news.
What No Photo?
As part of re-developing the SAPAA website we discovered that the Association did not have photos for these areas. Given their proximity to Edmonton (about a 1.5-hour drive from the Wayne Gretzky Statue in Edmonton, from which I measure all distances), this had to be remedied.
Perhaps these areas have been years without an official steward (or never had one), but there were no evident signs marking either location. Bat Lake is easier to spot as there is oil and gas activity immediately visible from Range Road 43.
Bat Lake – a Nice Walk
A private road sign is posted on the chained but unlocked gate to the area. This is a good thing to discourage off-highway vehicles (OHV) and it seems to be working. Other than a 1–2-week-old truck track, the area was ours to explore. A bright blue winter sky, a temperature hovering in the mid-negative-teens and the crunch of snowshoes on new snow accompanied us on the trek.
While there were numerous tracks and scat indicating a local deer and coyote population, there were no other nature sightings of note. Distant cawing of the ubiquitous crows [ravens, Hubert?] were the only birds of note.
The lake itself is small, about 2 km in circumference (or 48-acres). It was well frozen with a large riparian area. The bank of the lake was steeper on the south side versus the northeast corner from which we accessed the lake via the service road. Once again, a lake lacking of snowmobile or OHV tracks on or near the lake was good to see.
Alsike – A Good Looking Drive By
Due to another commitment, we did not visit Alsike Lake but did drive the portion bordered on the east and north by Range Road 42 and Township Road 492 respectively. There were animal tracks leading into the protected area but no obvious sign of human or mechanical traffic. A small well site was noted on the northwest corner which could provide access but was not explored.
A Summer Visit?
Given the area’s proximity to Coyote Lake Natura Area (about 2 km due north), Coyote Lake and these two lakes would make a good summer road trip. SAPAA members, any interest?