Clifford E. Lee Natural Area

Northwest of Devon and the North Saskatchewan River, Clifford E. Lee Natural Area protects the outlet to a critical wetland nearby. The Natural Area is an extension of the larger Nature Sanctuary of the same name, providing a welcome oasis of nature for residents of metro Edmonton. An extensive system of boardwalk traverses the wetland of the Sanctuary, 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 [1].

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, together 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 [2, adapted].

NATURAL HISTORY THEMES This site lies in the Parkland Natural Region, Central Parkland Subregion. The Clifford E. Lee Natural Area was established or expanded as part of the Special Places program (Alberta Parks website, 2012).

BOARDWALKS & CAUTION. In the Nature Sanctuary, there are four well-marked trails which include extensive portions of boardwalk which traverse the wet areas adjacent to the large pond. Note that the boardwalk is up to a metre or so above ground level, so, care should be taken with young children. Signage provides directions and information on the natural history of the area [3].

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 entrepreneur. Following World War II, he created a home-building company which eventually became 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 [2, adapted].

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.)
Recreation Activitiesnone noted
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Clifford E. Lee


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. Primary source of information is: Government of Alberta – Information & Facilities – Clifford E. Lee Natural Area | Alberta Parks (2022-01-09).

  1. Nature Conservancy of Canada, Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary (accessed 2022-01-09).
  2. Clifford E. Lee Website (accessed 2022-01-09).
  3. Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary, YEG-Ville Snowshoeing (accessed 2022-01-09).

Further Reading

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