New interpretive trail is a biodiversity experience

September 9, 2016

New interpretive trail is a biodiversity experience

Strathcona County today celebrated the official opening of the Beaver Hills Biodiversity Trail, along with partners in the Beaver Hills Initiative.

“With over 30 organizations collaborating, we have been blazing new trails and have achieved prestigious global recognition from UNESCO of the Beaver Hills as a model of sustainable development and stewardship,” says Strathcona County Mayor Roxanne Carr.

The trail was made possible with financial contributions from the Government of Alberta through a Nature-Based tourism grant, and industry sponsors Williams Energy and Enbridge. The trail is located at Range Road 211 and Township Road 530 (Baseline Road), on the east side of the Strathcona Wilderness Centre.

The Beaver Hills Tourism Working group, which includes Parks Canada, Government of Alberta, University of Alberta and Strathcona County, began working on the trail concept in 2012 and brought it to reality.

“All these contributions have made this interactive experience possible,” says Mayor Carr. “This trail is designed to inspire, with features to educate and experience biodiversity, culture, the story of the land and the vision of the biosphere.”

The trail is built on land purchased by Strathcona County as part of the Legacy Land Program. It complements the nature-based programming at the Strathcona County Wilderness Centre, and will conserve habitat.

The celebration of the new trail opening was organized by the Beaver Hills Initiative. Mayor Carr joined Councillor Rick Smith, on behalf of Leduc County Mayor John Whaley, Beaver County Reeve Kevin Smook and Lamont County representative Tina Crosby to proclaim September 9, 2016 as Beaver Hills Biosphere Day.

Located 15 minutes east of Sherwood Park, the Beaver Hills is a distinct landscape covering 1572 square kilometres of hummocky moraine. The area is a unique patchwork of valuable wetlands, small lakes and forested uplands. Popular destinations include Elk Island National Park, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, Ministik Lake Game Bird Sanctuary and the Strathcona Wilderness Centre.

Strathcona County has been a member of the Beaver Hills Initiative since it formed in 2002, working to address development and land use planning within the moraine. The Beaver Hills Initiative has grown to over 20 member organizations, including Strathcona County, Lamont County, Beaver County and Leduc County, as well as provincial and federal government, local residents, indigenous organizations, NGOs and academia.

Learn more about the Beaver Hills Biosphere.

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Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of almost 96,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

 

Contact:

Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595