Parkland Natural Area

Nirvana for beavers and water fowl, the Parkland Natural Area also supports some larger mammal populations. Unfortunately, proximity to urban areas attracts off-highway vehicles and results in various other disturbances.

One of the dozens of wetlands that dot Parkland NA, 2013. (H.Trefry)
One of the dozens of wetlands that dot Parkland NA, 2013 (HTrefry)

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

WHO USES PARKLAND. A recent SAPAA newsletter article by Helen Trefy provided an excellent overview, history and list of challenges this NA has had [1]. Its close proximity to urban areas affords city dwellers a chance to enjoy a landscape heavily influenced by beavers and water levels. Unfortunately, this has also attracted those wanting to bush-party, drive OHVs and practice target shooting.

NATURAL INVENTORY. Aspen forests cover much of this Natural Area, with shrubby grassland found only on south-facing slopes. Small rounded hills (called knobs), alternating with numerous ponds and wetlands (called kettles), are scattered throughout. Many of the kettles provide homes for Beaver and nesting areas for ducks. The site forms part of the Cooking Lake Moraine and lies in the Boreal Forest Natural Region, Dry Mixedwood Subregion (Alberta Parks website, 2012).

(The following is adapted from [2] unless otherwise indicated).

A MISNOMER. The name Parkland is a misnomer for this Natural Area. It may cause you to envision open spaces interspersed with clumps of aspens, but what really comes to mind as you wander the area is “Beaver Maze Natural Area,” where the only open spaces are due to excessive water. Here is a good example of our national symbol taking full advantage of a wet year in the knob and kettle topography of the Cooking Lake Moraine to utilize every pond available. All that water, combined with aspen poplar bluffs in higher areas and scattered balsam poplar, white spruce, tamarack and birch trees elsewhere, results in an extensive, biologically diverse complex of wetlands and uplands. .

FSNS SUPPORT. The Parkland Natural Area covers one full section of land, adjacent to Highway 14 and about 5 km southeast of Hastings Lake. The Fort Saskatchewan Naturalist Society (FSNS) assumed co-stewardship of the area in 2012. Since then, members have observed the use and, occasionally, abuse of the area. Issues recorded in site reports have been similar over the past 20 years, dealing mainly with concerns over too much and too little access.

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. Numerous plant and animal species have been observed in the Natural Area. A small sample includes [2, adapted]:

  • Bufflehead, Red-throated and Horned Grebes, Eastern Kingbird and Baltimore Oriole.
  • Based on previous stewards’ reports, Red-tailed Hawks have nested in the area for decades; there have also been Great Horned Owl and Northern Goshawk records.
  • Beaver, Muskrat, Moose and deer have been observed at close range.
  • Prairie Garter Snakes have been seen, sighted at the northern edge of their range.
  • Linda Kershaw compiled a list of 73 vascular plants within the Natural Area.
  • One highlight was the discovery of a large population of a rare aquatic liverwort, crystalwort (Riccia fluitans).
  • The rare fern crested shieldfern (Dryopteris cristata) is also known to grow in a small fen in the area.

Site Statistics

Site NameParkland
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Dry Mixedwood
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)584/92
PASite ID (Map Ref #)1
Site # (Parks Website)459
Total Area260.52 ha. (643.74 ac.)
Recreation ActivitiesHiking – front country, Hunting
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Parkland


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

  1. SAPAA Newsletter No. 41, January 2022, pp. 8-9.
  2. SAPAA Newsletter No. 28, June 2013, pp. 1-2.

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