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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » Beaver River Region » Beaver River Basin » Muriel Lake

Muriel Lake

    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Lake Basin Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:73L/2
Location:Tp59, 60 R5, 6 W4
Lat/Long:54°8'N 110°41'W

Muriel Lake is a large lake with lovely beaches and fairly clear water. It is located in the Municipal District of Bonnyville about 13 km south of the town of Bonnyville and 250 km northeast of the city of Edmonton. To reach the lake from Edmonton, take Highways 28 and 28A north and east to Bonnyville. At the junction of Highways 28 and 41 within the town (55 Street), turn south onto a road known locally as the Gurneyville Road. This road joins Secondary Road 657 just south of the locality of Gurneyville, on the western side of the lake (Fig. 1), and provides access to Muriel Lake Provincial Recreation Area. An alternate route, which provides access to the eastern side of the lake and Muriel Lake Park, is to drive east through Bonnyville on Secondary Road 659 and turn south onto Secondary Road 657 at Charlotte Lake. This north-south portion of Secondary Road 657 will be renumbered to 891 in about 1990, when the road is extended south to the hamlet of Lindbergh (Campeau 1989).

The origin of Muriel Lake's name is not known. The first fur-trading post in the area was established in 1781 by the North West Company near the present-day hamlet of Beaver Crossing, about 35 km northeast of Muriel Lake. A second post, Fort Lac d'Orignal (Shaw House), was established in 1789 on the north shore of nearby Moose Lake. The first settlers came to the Bonnyville area in 1907, and a store, post office and sawmill were established about 10 km east of Bonnyville in 1908. By 1909, two schools were operating in the area (Alta. Mun. Aff. 1978). The local economy in the early 1900s was based on the timber industry, and two sawmills were located at Muriel Lake, one at the northeastern tip and the other on the large island/peninsula on the eastern shore (Fig. 1). In the 1920s, an extensive fire destroyed the timber and the economic base switched to agriculture. The locality of Gurneyville, on the western shore, and the locality of Muriel Lake, northeast of the lake, provided post offices and general stores for local residents. At present, Gurneyville has a gas station, post office and general store, but the post office at Muriel Lake is closed and no one lives there now (Alta. Cult. Multicult. n.d.; Alta. Mun. Aff. 1979). There are several subdivisions around the lakeshore and on the backshore, mostly on the south and east sides of the lake. By 1988, almost half of the 391 registered lots had been developed (Alta. Mun. Aff. 1988). Kehiwin Indian Reserve 123 is located on 8,200 ha of land southwest of the lake. The Kehiwin Band, which was named in 1876 when Chief Kehiwin signed Treaty No. 6, are descendants of Plains Cree (Alta. Native Aff. 1986). A 1984 census recorded 900 band members.

In 1988, landowners near the lake were surveyed for the background report to the Muriel Lake Area Structure Plan review (Alta. Mun. Aff. 1988; 1989). Most respondents (87%) were concerned about water levels in the lake. Other problems cited were poor fishing (54%), shoreline weeds (31%), weeds in the lake (26%) and algae (20%). Water quality was rated, on average, as good to excellent. In a 1976 survey of cottage owners, only 17% of respondents cited poor fishing as a problem, 10% cited algal growth, and only a few people complained of weeds. Variations in the weather, and therefore, changes in the lake level and the concentration of algae, were probably responsible for the differences between the results of the two surveys. In summer, the favourite recreational activities of cottage owners in the 1976 survey were swimming, fishing, power boating, sightseeing, and water skiing. Only 25% of respondents used their cottages in winter and these people mostly went snowmobiling and ice fishing (Alta. Mun. Aff. 1976).

The largest recreational facility on Muriel Lake is Muriel Lake Park, which is operated by the Municipal District of Bonnyville. It is located on the large bay at the northeast end of the lake (Fig. 2). Signs on Secondary Road 657 direct visitors to the area. The park is open from mid-May to mid-September and offers 105 campsites, 3 group camping areas with 36 sites, a sewage disposal station, pump water, a concession, a boat launch and dock, and a day-use area with picnic tables, a playground, a beach and a swimming area. The municipal district also owns a boat launch on the eastern shore, in Beaumieux Resort subdivision. It can be reached by a local road from Secondary Road 657. There are no boating restrictions specific to Muriel Lake, but general federal regulations apply (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988).

Alberta Recreation and Parks operates Muriel Lake Provincial Recreation Area, located on the western shore (Fig. 2). It is open from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving Day and has 19 campsites, pump water, picnic tables, a picnic shelter, a beach and a boat launch.

There are three commercial campgrounds and two institutional camps at Muriel Lake. The institutional camps, which are located on Crown land at the northeast tip of the lake, are the Fort Kent Catholic Boys Camp and Recreation Centre, and the Lakeland Division of the Girl Guides of Canada.

The concentration of algae in Muriel Lake is quite low, and the water is usually moderately transparent. Aquatic vegetation covers an extensive area, particularly along the south and east sides of the lake, but emergent vegetation is not abundant in most areas. The species of sport fish in the lake are northern pike, yellow perch and walleye. There are no sport fishing regulations specific to the lake, but provincial limits and regulations apply. The northern pike may contain natural levels of mercury higher than levels recommended for human consumption. Pregnant women should not eat the fish, and others should not eat more than one meal of the fish per week (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). The lake also supports commercial and domestic fisheries.

Physical Information
Area (km2)64.1
Max. Depth (m)10.7
Mean Depth (m)6.6
Dr. Basin Area (km2)384
Dam, WeirNone
Drainage BasinBeaver River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundPresent
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishNorthern Pike, Lake Whitefish, Walleye, Yellow Perch

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusMesotrophic
TP x (µg/L)36
CHLORO x (µg/L)6.7
TDS x (mg/L)753

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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