Opal Natural Area

Opal Natural Area consists of four parcels of land, two of which have Order in Council (OC) and two have Protective Notation (PNT) status with the OC and PNT parcels contiguous. The complex is located approximately 11 km northwest of the town of Redwater. The terrain in all parcels consists of sandy ridges.

Opal Site Map (Government of Alberta)
Opal Site Map (Government of Alberta)

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

Opal NA, located in the Boreal Forest Natural Region, Dry Mixedwood Natural Subregion, contains sandy ridges interspersed with depressional areas. The varied vegetation communities include open jack pine/lichen forests on upland areas, aspen groves, wet sedge-grass meadows, and cattail-ringed ponds and black spruce fens in the depressions. The area provides good wildlife habitat (Alberta Parks website, 2012).

The PNT area and the OC portion adjoin each other on both the east and west sides, but are separated by private land in the middle, the whole protected area totaling over 620 ha [1].

A (Maybe) Precious Name. Originally named Rutherford, after Alberta’s first Premier, the post office changed the name in 1912 [2]. Because… well unfortunately the reason has been lost to time [3]. An opal mineraloid can be found in two forms, common and precious [4]. We prefer precious, just like this NA.

Site Statistics

Site NameOpal
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Dry Mixedwood
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)454/71
PASite ID (Map Ref #)61
Site # (Parks Website)917.05
Total Area371.02 ha. (917.05 ac.)
Recreation ActivitiesCross-country skiing, Hiking – backcountry, Hunting
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Opal
Site NameOpal (PNT)
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeProtective Notation (PNT)
Natural Region(s)Dry Mixedwood
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)N/A
PASite ID (Map Ref #)61
Site # (Parks Website)622.42
Total Area251.88 ha. (622.42 ac.)
Recreation Activities
Operated By
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Opal (PNT)


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 – Opal Natural Area | Alberta Parks (2022-02-18).

  1. “Thorhild County 2021 Landownership Map.” August 2021. 1:90,000.
  2. Opal, Alberta – Wikipedia
  3. Aubrey, Merrily K., ed. Concise Place Names of Alberta. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2006; p. 239.
  4. Opal – Wikipedia

Further Reading

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