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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » North Saskatchewan Region » North Saskatchewan River Basin » Bonnie Lake

Bonnie Lake

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

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:73L/4
Location:Tp59, 60 R13 W4
Lat/Long:54°09'N 111°52'W

Bonnie Lake is a popular recreational lake located in the County of Smoky Lake. It is situated approximately 130 km northeast of the city of Edmonton and 5 km northeast of the village of Vilna, which is the closest population centre. To drive to the lake from Edmonton, take Highway 28 until you are 5.5 km past the turnoff for Vilna (Fig. 1), then turn north and drive 3 km to Bonnie Lake Provincial Recreation Area on the south side of the lake (Fig. 2). Access to other parts of the lakeshore is provided by three other roads that branch north from Highway 28.

The origin of the lake's name is not known. Before settlers arrived, the Bonnie Lake area was inhabited by Cree Indians who followed the buffalo. Settlers of English, Polish, Ukrainian and American descent began farming land in the region in 1904. Vilna was established in 1919 when the railroad arrived, and was incorporated in 1923 (Co. Smoky L. 1968).

Bonnie Lake Provincial Recreation Area is operated by Alberta Recreation and Parks. It is open from the Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving Day for camping and year-round for day use. There are 45 campsites, pump water, a beach, a boat launch, a picnic shelter and a playground (Alta. Hotel Assoc. 1989). In addition to the provincial recreation area, there are informal campsites maintained by the County of Smoky Lake on the southeast shore (Fig. 2). The only other public recreational facility is a village of Vilna ball park and informal campground located on leased Crown land immediately southwest of the recreation area (Bonnie L. Plan Commit. 1987[a]).

Scouts Canada (Northern Region) also holds a recreational lease on Crown land on the south shore of the lake (Fig. 2). Their facility operates year-round and consists of a campground and leader-training facility. The remainder of the Crown land is located north of the lake; the portion that fronts on the lake has protective notation, but there is no road access to the area. The portion farther north is held under grazing and farm development leases (Bonnie L. Plan Commit. 1987[a]).

In 1984, Alberta Municipal Affairs recommended that Bonnie Lake be designated for intensive recreational use (Alta. Mun. Aff. 1984). In response to increasing development pressures, a lake management plan was completed in 1986 and an area structure plan was finalized and adopted in 1987 (Bonnie L. Plan Commit. 1987[a]; 1987[b]). The lake management plan determines the development capacity of Bonnie Lake, provides land-use planning policies for the lake, and determines ways to minimize environmental impacts and conflicts in the use of the lakeshore. It also recommends preferred lake uses and ways to minimize lake-user conflicts. In 1989, the only country residential development on the lakeshore was Bonnie Lake Resort, located on the south shore. In 1987, 75 of the 111 lots in the resort had been purchased, 36 residences had been built and 26 sites had trailers (Bonnie L. Plan Commit. 1987[a]). In addition, several single residences were located on the shore.

The water in Bonnie Lake turns green during summer. The extensive beds of aquatic vegetation present in shallow areas provide nesting habitat for several species of waterfowl. The main water-based activities at the lake are motor boating and water skiing. Over most of the lake, there are no boating restrictions, but in posted areas such as the designated swimming area, all boats are prohibited (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988). Until 1987, the lake supported a popular sport fishery for northen pike and yellow perch, but after severe winterkills in 1987 and 1988, the stocking of yellow perch was discontinued for an indefinite period. Bonnie Lake's outlet stream is closed to sport fishing for a period during April and May each year (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). The main land-based recreational activities near the lake are camping, picnicking and golfing.

Physical Information
Area (km2)3.77
Max. Depth (m)6.1
Mean Depth (m)3.1
Dr. Basin Area (km2)49.6
Dam, WeirNone
Drainage BasinNorth Saskatchewan River Basin

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

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusHyper-Eutrophic
TP x (µg/L)95
CHLORO x (µg/L)31.5
TDS x (mg/L)217

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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