What are the attractions in the region if one assumes a bulls-eye on the lodge? For some guests the attractions are rural communities. For others the attractions may be the industries of petroleum, agriculture, and mining on the landscapes. Some may focus on the cultural histories. At the lodge we focus on the healing power of nature and the conservation of nature. This is why our land is posted for no trespassing and no hunting – live wildlife is more valuable to our guests than dead animals. We focus on lakes, rivers, forests and the nature supported by these ecosystems which fall at the intersection of the Foothills, Parkland, and Boreal Forest Natural Areas. This accounts for the high biodiversity of the target.
While we believe the lodge is a great destination, there are many regional features that are attractive and not available on our property. We hope that guests will take regional trips while using our accessible lodge as their base. Coyote Lake Lodge is located at 53°17’08”North, 114°30’29” West within an area that stretches from Edmonton to the Rocky Mountains. This region has a long list of features that, some would say, culminate in Jasper National Park. The North Saskatchewan River drains from the mountains and cuts through our target. This river was travelled by Indigenous peoples, explorers, fur trappers, buffalo hunters, loggers and then settlers. Railways, roads, and airports followed. Today, economic livelihoods in rural areas are driven by the natural resources of petroleum, coal, forestry, agriculture, and tourism.
Below are a few of the regional attractions that we recommend to Coyote Lake Lodge guests.
The Bulls-eye of 0-10 km Radius
This circle includes everyday activities around and on the 480 acre Coyote Lake Lodge. Almost everyone can travel over this distance on foot, bicycle, or even in a wheelchair.
Features of Nature: Coyote Lake is surrounded by land owned by the Government of Alberta and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The lake is about 150 km² and is too shallow for the over wintering of sports fish. Beaver and the larger mammals are common but it is the summer birds like loons, geese, ducks, and herons that capture the attention of visitors. The North Saskatchewan River stretches from the ice fields in the Rocky Mountains to Hudson Bay and cuts across this bulls-eye. The land is mainly forested with poplar and small white spruce patches along creeks and around small wetlands. Land patterns reflect past forest fires.
Recreation destinations: Aside from our lodge, conservation areas are owned by the Government of Alberta and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Hunters and snow mobile enthusiasts use private land with the owner’s permission.
Industries: Electrical power lines and petroleum pipelines cross this area. Gravel extraction is active along the North Saskatchewan River. Ranching is common.
10 – 25 km Radius
This is in the range of cycling, skiing or river travel in canoes and kayaks.
Features of Nature:
To the east and south, forests have long been replaced by agriculture land.
Recreation destinations: There are dozens of Alberta conservation areas with few amenities. A golf course is located west of the lodge at Birchwood.
Communities: The small communities of Tomahawk, Telfordville, Sunnybrook, Warburg, and Breton all have roots in agriculture. Breton was originally known for African-Americans from the southern United States who settled in this area. The Warburg Hutterite Colony is a thriving agriculture enterprise and is recognized by visitors for the meat market.
Industries: Genesee and Keephills electrical power plants have been powered by surface-mined coal and are now being converted to natural gas.
The hill country, where the lodge is located, descends to the east of St Francis to flat agriculture land that supports grains and canola and, to a lesser extent, fields of peas, potatoes, and other crops. Family farms have been consolidated and small areas of forest are still being cleared. Fields are usually described in terms of quarter sections (i.e. 160 acres).
25 – 50 km Radius
Destinations are reached by short auto trips and dedicated cyclists. Infrastructure includes the northern terminus of the Alberta Cowboy Trail (Highway 22) and the Yellowhead (Highway 16).
Features of Nature: To the west and north forests are still extensive.
Recreation destinations: Extensive summer cottage areas surround Pigeon, Buck, Isle, and Wabamun Lakes.
Communities: To the east, Thorsby, Calmar, and Stony Plain, have agricultural roots and, to the west, is Drayton Valley.
Industries: Drayton Valley developed from the forestry and petroleum industries. Agricultural land is common to the north and south and especially on the east.
50 – 100 km Radius
This requires driving for 30 to 60 minutes and passing through Parkland to the east, Boreal Forest to the north, and Foothills to the west. Lakes are common, especially in the north.
Features of Nature:
Forests to the east have long been cleared for agriculture. To the west the foothills are dominated by conifer species like pine and spruce. The North Saskatchewan River drains much of the area.
Recreation destinations: Several large waterbodies, including Brazeau Reservoir, Chip Lake, Lac St. Anne, and Gull Lake, attract summer residents and visitors.
Communities: Administratively, this area includes several counties, the cities of Leduc, Edmonton, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park, and the Edmonton International Airport. The area almost reaches Red Deer. There are many smaller communities.
Industries: Infrastructure for urban communities dominates the north-eastern side of this area. To the south is agricultural land. To the west is forestry. Petroleum infrastructure of wells, collection pipelines, and processing plants dominate the landscapes.