Sylvan Lake Natural Area

Sylvan Lake Natural Area is a small (14.33 ha) Natural Area abutting the edge of Sylvan Lake in its northwest. It contains mature poplar and mixedwood forest and wetland habitats. It is under extreme pressure from development and damage by off-highway vehicle users.

Sylvan Lake Natural Area Site Map
Sylvan Lake Natural Area Site Map

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

BOREAL FOREST. Sylvan Lake Natural Area forms part of the southernmost extension of Alberta’s boreal forest. Numerous boreal plants, including three species of woodland fern, grow here at their known southern limits.

FASCINATING BIOPHYSICAL FEATURES are found within the site. A levee parallels the shoreline of the natural area, sheltering a special lagoon-like habitat with a mosaic of willow shrubbery and reed beds containing many marsh plant species and providing excellent bird-watching opportunities, mostly of waterfowl and woodland species. Canada’s largest woodpecker, the pileated woodpecker, is found in this natural area. The old-growth stands of trees here are hosts to the wood-boring insects and larvae that these woodpeckers feed on. They also provide suitable nesting cavities but the area is too small to provide a year-round home range and the pileated woodpecker is not known to nest here (Alberta Parks website, 2012).

UNDER THREAT AND DEVELOPMENT. “Unfortunately, this fantastic little area is under tremendous threat from developers and OHV riders. In 2004, a concerted campaign was launched by developers bent on surrounding this tiny area with hundreds of luxury homes. Although they give constant assurance that they will protect the natural area, many have doubts about their commitment. In spite of the concerns of hundreds of people, the County of Lacombe has granted approval for hundreds of new houses at the doorstep of this natural area. Even now, OHV and snowmobile riders pay little regard to the signs prohibiting motorized vehicles. What will happen if the developments proceed? It is doubtful that it can withstand the pressure of use by hundreds of people.” [1].

Site Statistics

Site NameSylvan Lake
Site TypeNatural Area
SubtypeOrder-in-council (OC)
Natural Region(s)Dry Mixedwood
O.C. No. (Land Ref. Manual)786/87
PASite ID (Map Ref #)241
Site # (Parks Website)466
Total Area13.44 ha. (33.20 ac.)
Recreation ActivitiesBirding, Hiking, Hunting
Operated ByParks Division
Notes and Comments
Statistics and Details for Sylvan Lake


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

  1. Sylvan Lake Natural Area – Red Deer River Naturalists (2022-02-18).

Further Reading

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