[MEDIUM] Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve

35 km west of Swan Hills and established in the late 1960’s, this ER protects unique plan species in Upper Foothills Natural Subregion.

[MEDIUM due to number of references]

AWA’s Goose - Wallace Areas of Concern Map; Alberta Wilderness Association.
AWA’s Goose – Wallace Areas of Concern Map; Alberta Wilderness Association.

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

Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve is situated in the highest portion of the Swan Hills uplands. Flat-topped to steeply-sloping hills rise 600 metres above the surrounding lowlands. An impressive north-facing escarpment dissected by pronounced gullies is found near the southern boundary. The most extensive vegetation type is coniferous forest dominated by balsam/subalpine fir crosses, Engelmann/white spruce crosses and lodgepole pine. Tall shrub communities of alder and willow occur on moist slopes.

1967, Centennial Natural Areas. Goose Mountain one of a number of ecological reserves established as part of activities around the 1967 Centennial of Canada. A committee selected areas of public land containing significant/special natural features and to ensure their protection and management. They included at least Plateau Mountain, Kootenay Plains, Goose Mountain, Kleskun Hill, and Red Rock Coulee. These areas were selected on the basis of both biological and physical features [1].

16 Rare Plant Species. The reason for this pocket of rare flora has to do with Swan Hills’ elevation. At 1180m above sea level, this allows for the development of a sub-alpine ecosystem not found anywhere else on the prairies [2].

Critical Piece – Upper Foothills. Located in east-central Alberta, Goose-Wallace is a critical piece of the Upper Foothills Natural Subregion. Just south of Lesser Slave Lake and west of the town of Swan Hills, AWA’s Goose-Wallace Area of Concern is a 371 km2 piece of Alberta public lands that includes the boundaries of the Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve. It is characterized by shurblands and muskegs that intertwine between plateaus that quickly transition to steep slopes. These hills are a sanctuary for many large mammals, and display an incredible array of rare plant species [3].

Heavily Disturbed. Unprotected portions of Goose-Wallace and surrounding lands have been heavily disturbed and resemble a patchwork quilt of cutblocks, oil and gas wells, and roads. With minimal protection from industrial development and no science-based management of the surrounding area, the wilderness of Goose-Wallace is at risk of disappearing. Protecting the Goose-Wallace would conserve the ecological integrity of the area and contribute to increased representation of the Foothills Natural Region within Alberta’s protected areas network [3].

Site Statistics

Site NameGoose Mountain
Site TypeEcological Reserve
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Upper Foothills
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)615/88
PASite ID (Map Ref #)4
Site # (Parks Website)402
Total Area1246.48 ha. (3080.00 ac.)
Recreation ActivitiesHiking – backcountry
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve
Goose Mountain ER Site Map (Government of Alberta)
Goose Mountain ER Site Map (Government of Alberta)


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: Information & Facilities – Goose Mountain Ecological Area | Alberta Parks (All links accessed on 2023-02-05).

  1. Early History of the Alberta Protected Areas System by Peter Achuff, SAPAA Newsletter No. 38 April 2021 pp. 3-4.
  2. Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve – Town Of Swan Hills.
  3. Goose Wallace – Alberta Wilderness Association.

Further Reading

Editing, Review and Silence Procedure

  1. FRANK: Publish page
  2. HUBERT/PATSY: Assign page for editing by update tbd in the Title (4-
  3. Review for readability and alignment to SAPAA organizational reputation.
  4. Best available image
  5. Review for accuracy including:
    1. Correct map and site statistics
    2. Area size is correct
    3. Standards (e.g. use of hyphens, spelling, etc.)
    4. References are accessible and and notes match
  6. Review for formatting, e.g.: Centered captions, No empty blocks
  7. TEAM: Last walk through
    1. Any final discussion or notes
    2. Remove [name] from title
    3. Add to log book for silence procedure
    4. Delete these notes.

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