Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve


Located south of (but not on) the Athabasca River, about 10 km southwest of Ft. Assiniboine, Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve was established in 1997 to protect the unique sand dune features of this area [1].

Sandy trail in Holmes Crossing Ecological Reserve, Fall 2017 (GKwong)
Sandy trail in Holmes Crossing Ecological Reserve, Fall 2017 (GKwong)

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

Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve preserves some of the highest transverse dunes in Canada. The dunes are stabilized with jack pine/lichen forests. The reserve also contains a number of small lakes. This area is one of the few occurrences of transverse dunes in Canada (Alberta Parks website, 2012).

Its name comes from the local settlement of Holmes Crossing on the south side of the Athabasca River. This settlement was named after William Holmes, the ferryman at this site from 1906-1913. The transverse dunes are the most unique feature of the reserve. These dunes are formed in wave-like ridges transverse to the prevailing wind direction, and are well preserved by stabilizing vegetation. Because of this cover the formations are difficult to observe at ground level, but easily identified in aerial photography. The transverse dunes are one the best representations of this geomorphological feature in Canada and are therefore of national significance [1].

Special Features Map; Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve Management Plan, p. 4 (Government of Alberta)
Special Features Map; Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve Management Plan, p. 4 (Government of Alberta) [1]

Site Statistics

Site NameHolmes Crossing Sandhills
Site TypeEcological Reserve
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Central Mixedwood
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)183/97
PASite ID (Map Ref #)580
Site # (Parks Website)408
Total Area1982.65 ha. (4899.14 ac.)
Steward-Status
Recreation ActivitiesWildlife viewing
IUCNIA
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Holmes Crossing Sandhills (OC)

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 – Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Area | Alberta Parks (2022-02-17).

  1. Holmes Crossing Sandhills Ecological Reserve Management Plan.” Alberta Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Service, March 1999.

Further Reading


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