J.J. Collett Natural Area

Jack Collett donated the land for this NA in 1974. It is named in memory of his son, John Joseph Collett. JJ loved to camp on the site as a boy, but was tragically killed in a forestry accident in 1976. JJ and Jack’s memories live on here [1].

J.J. Collett Natural Area site map (Government of Alberta)
J.J. Collett Natural Area site map (Government of Alberta)

[IMAGE, if available – We must have a better image than this, can we contact the foundation if not?]

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

J.J. Collett NA (260 ha in size) contains stabilized sand dunes and black spruce peatlands. Rolling landscapes support a variety of plant communities, mainly shrublands, aspen stands and meadows. A small stream fed by wetlands winds through the area to form a pond. Small stands of white spruce grow on the area’s moist, shady hillsides, prairie crocus grow on grassy hillsides and in open woodlands, and the area is home to numerous bird species as well as deer, Coyote and Porcupine. This site lies in the Parkland Natural Region, Central Parkland Subregion (Alberta Parks website, 2012).

BOTANICAL TREASURES. This natural area is an interesting mix of shrublands, aspen stands, meadows, wetlands, and stabilised sand dunes. Plants found here include low milkweed (Asclepias ovaliflora; and the monarch butterflies this plant attracts) and the rare American water-horehound (Lycopus americanus) [2]. The NA is one of the few remnants of relatively undisturbed parkland in central Alberta [3].

HISTORICAL USAGE. The area was used many years ago for grazing cattle and, at one time, a small sawmill processed timber from the area. At present, the only agricultural use is that of limited late fall and early winter horse grazing to help lower the risk of fire by reducing the grass cover [4].

USAGE AND THREATS. J.J. Collett NA consists of 260 ha of aspen parkland habitat underlain by ancient sand dunes. More than 18 km of maintained trails wind through the mosaic of shrub lands, aspen groves, white spruce stands on moist shady hillsides, wetlands and meadows typical of the region.

Location. The Natural Area is located in rural central Alberta near the hamlet of Morningside, between Ponoka and Lacombe. It is used by the general public for educational activities, exercise and recreation. Because of its proximity to Highway #2, one of the fastest growing corridors in Western Canada, it is of utmost importance that we preserve this ecologically diverse land.

Education Use. Local organizations, schools, post-secondary institutions, First Nations and fitness groups use the J.J. Collett NA for studies, orienteering and field trips. Guided walks are held each spring and fall, and guest speakers are provided at annual meetings. In recent years, with the expansion of the trail system and improved maintenance, use of the area has risen dramatically. Summer weekends are the busiest time for the area with about 250-300 visitors. In winter, both walking and cross-country ski trails are groomed for recreational use. A conservative estimate is that 10,000 to 11,000 people visit the area annually.

J.J. Collett Natural Area Foundation (JJCNAF) was established in 1985 and consists of 11 volunteer directors who lease the area from the Provincial government. These Provincial Stewards are responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the area. In 2003 they were presented with the Outstanding Group Steward Award and in 2010 they received the Service Excellence Award from Parks Alberta [5]. More information about the Natural Area and the Foundation can be found at their website [6].

Site Statistics

Site NameJ.J. Collett
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Central Parkland
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)519/95
PASite ID (Map Ref #)145
Site # (Parks Website)635.05
Total Area257.00 ha. (635.05 ac.)
Recreation Activitiescross-country skiing, hiking – front country
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for J.J. Collett NA


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 – Primary source of information is: Government of Alberta – Information & Facilities – J. J. Collett Natural Area | Alberta Parks (2022-02-18).

  1. J. J. Collett Natural Area Foundation, History of NA.
  2. Field Trip to J.J.Collett NA, SAPAA Newsletter No. 11 September 2004, p. 3.
  3. Road Widening at J.J. Collett N.A., SAPAA Newsletter No. 22 May 2010, p. 1.
  4. Charley Bird, Lepidoptera of the J.J. Collett Natural Area, 2002-2011, Open Government Collection, p. 2. (accessed April 15, 2022).
  5. J.J.Collett Natural Area Foundation, SAPAA Newsletter No. 30, August 2014, pp. 2-3.
  6. Website, J.J.Collett Natural Area Foundation

Further Reading

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