Clifford E. Lee Natural Area

Northwest of Devon and the North Saskatchewan River, Clifford E. Lee Natural Area (NA) protects the outlet to a critical wetland nearby. The NA is integrated into the larger Nature Sanctuary of the same name. It also provides a welcome oasis of nature for residents of metro-Edmonton. An extensive system of boardwalks traverses the wetland, with natural surface trails in the sandy meadows and forested areas.


Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary Board Walks in winter, 2020-12-26 (FPotter)
Clifford E. Lee Sanctuary Board Walks in winter, 2020-12-26 (FPotter)

Map of the Area

Any maps and map views are for general information only. Do not rely on them for navigation or to determine legal boundaries.

Other Information

NATURAL AREA, SANCTUARY or BOTH? The Clifford E. Lee Natural Area (11 ha of Crown land) is a critical addition to the contiguous Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary owned by Ducks Unlimited Canada in conjunction with a conservation agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The Natural Area contains cattail–sedge marsh and sandy upland habitat and protects the outlet channel of the Sanctuary’s main wetland. The Nature Sanctuary, the portion open to the public, with the NA, protects a total of 141 ha of marshland, open meadow, aspen parkland and jack pine forest. The varied habitats of the Sanctuary support a diversity of plant and animal life, including more than 100 bird species, and provide excellent opportunities for botanizing and wildlife viewing. [3, adapted]

[I don’t understand this. One source says the sanctuary is owned by the Canadian Nature Federation, another by the DUC and NCC. I believe the latter two are the current owners. ]

NATURAL HISTORY THEMES [2]. This site lies in the Parkland Natural Region, Central Parkland Sub-region. Fourteen Level 1 and 63 level 2 natural history themes have been identified to describe the environmental diversity of the Central Parkland. Full representation of 5 of the Level 1 themes has been achieved, but the remaining level 1 themes are not well represented within the parks and protected areas network.

There is some representation of most level 2 themes within the network. The Clifford E. Lee Natural Area was established or expanded as part of the Special Places program.

[Again, I would completely omit the above 2 paragraphs. Many years ago the govt produced a document on Natural History themes (I have an idea Peter Achuff did it) identifying themes that were covered in the various PAs, with, I believe, the idea of having all identified themes eventually covered by PAs and probably, if necessary, creating more PAs to do so. The document is probably still around, I’ll check online, but the chances that the govt is doing anything with it now seem remote. (Kristyn or Chris may know more about this. ) But since neither stewards nor we can do anything about this I think it is just useless information. As long as it is recorded in govt files there is a record and a reference, but I don’t think we need it.]

BOARDWALKS & CAUTION. There are four well-marked trails including a number of km of boardwalk that traverse the wetter area adjacent to the wetland. Note the boardwalk at times is up to a metre or so above the ground level so care should be taken with young children. Signage provides directions and information on the natural history of the area. [5]

Who Was Clifford E. Lee?

NuWEST DEVELOPMENT. Clifford E. Lee was born on a farm in what is now Edmonton’s Hardisty district. He had a varied career including as a teacher, pharmacist and an entrepreneur. Following World War II, he created a home-building company which eventually becoming NuWest Development Corporation, once one of the biggest housing development companies in North America.

FOUNDATION. When the company he founded went public in the late 1960s, he transferred the bulk of his personal fortune into a foundation, the Clifford E. Lee Foundation. Established in 1969, it made funds available to worthwhile philanthropic endeavours in a variety of fields. The Sanctuary is one of the largest projects funded by the Foundation, and one in which Lee himself would have taken great pleasure. [3, adapted]

[We need information on the stewards – they do exist, and also on the CELNS committee who administer the Sanctuary as a whole]

Site Statistics

Site NameClifford E. Lee
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Central Parkland
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)519/95
PASite ID (Map Ref #)525
Site # (Parks Website)533
Total Area11.33 ha. (28.00 ac.)
Steward-Status4. Unknown
Recreation Activitiesnone noted
IUCNII
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Clifford E. Lee

References, Further Reading and Links

The following links are provided as a courtesy but are not verified or endorsed by SAPAA. Clicking on the link will cause you to leave the SAPAA website.

  1. Information & Facilities – Clifford E. Lee Natural Area | Alberta Parks (accessed 2022-01-09)
  2. Alberta Parks web site, 2012
  3. Clifford E. Lee Website (accessed 2022-01-09)
  4. Nature Conservancy of Canada, Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary (accessed 2022-01-09).
  5. Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary, YEG-Ville Snowshoeing (accessed 2022-01-09)

[No. 3 reference link does not work!]

Further Reading

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s