Halfmoon Lake Natural Area


Halfmoon Lake Natural Area consists of sandy, rolling landscapes dominated by open jack pine woods and mixed spruce and aspen forests on more organic soils, with sedge fens and treed fens in low-lying land closer to the lake.

Open jack pine forest with reindeer moss, common bearberry and spreading dogbane-Halfmoon Lake NA-2016-08-20_(PCotterill)
Open jack pine forest with reindeer moss, common bearberry and spreading dogbane-Halfmoon Lake NA-2016-08-20-(PCotterill)

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

TERRAIN. Lying within the Dry Mixedwood Natural Subregion of the Boreal Forest Natural Region, Halfmoon Lake Natural Area features a variety of plant community types. These include open jack pine woods and mixed pine-aspen forest on sandy soils and moister upland sites with mixedwoods of poplar-white spruce and shrublands. Near Halfmoon Lake there are open sedge fens grading into treed fen closer to the lake and emergent riparian vegetation along the shore. Plant communities on organic soils occupy the depressions, with velvet-leaf blueberry common in both these depressions and the sandy jack pine areas.

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. Halfmoon Lake is used year-round for fishing; access to the lake is somewhat difficult, but there are trails leading to the water. Fish species include Fathead Minnow, Northern Pike and Yellow Perch. The Natural Area is popular with hikers at all times and with blueberry pickers when the berries are in season.

PROTECTED AREAS ADJACENT TO HALFMOON LAKE NATURAL AREA. The eastern portion of provincial land (> 4 quarter-sections) is accessible to the public by a well-maintained staging area at the east end. It is connected to the western quarter-section by protected lands under private ownership. South of this quarter-section is land owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The NCC property is open to the public but for foot traffic only. The stewards are Richard and Vera DeSmet who enforce this rule strictly. On part of the privately owned land the Pioneer Trail North Foundation provides an important service in environmental education by hosting field trips for local school classes.

Map showing area under protection south of Halfmoon Lake. Government lands are in green shading. Prepared 2017 by Richard and Vera deSmet.
Map showing area under protection south of Halfmoon Lake. Government lands are in green shading. Prepared 2017 by Richard and Vera deSmet.

HISTORY AND STEWARDSHIP. Halfmoon Lake Natural Area has been co-stewarded by a group of volunteers (including the Rainbow Equitation Society) for the past 45-plus years. Despite being in a settled agricultural area the land has never been ploughed or occupied by settlers. It is virgin land, with original plant communities providing important reference information.

HISTORICAL TRAIL. Located nearby to the west is Mile 42 of the Athabasca Landing Trail at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Athabasca Landing Trail was a portage route established in the 1870s for horse-drawn carts travelling between Fort Edmonton and the present town of Athabasca; northbound people and goods used the trail for several decades.

Site Statistics

Site NameHalfmoon Lake
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Dry Mixedwood
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)378/87
PASite ID (Map Ref #)213
Site # (Parks Website)480
Total Area330.55 ha. (816.78 ac.)
Steward-Status
Recreation Activitiescross-country skiing, fishing, hiking front country, horseback riding, snowshoeing, botanizing, blueberry picking
IUCNII
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Halfmoon Lake

References

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 – Halfmoon Lake Natural Area | Alberta Parks (2022-01-19).

Further Reading

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