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

Crimson Lake

    1.Introduction
    2.Drainage Basin Characteristics
    3.Lake Basin Characteristics
    4.Water Quality
    5.Biological Characteristics
    6.References
    7.Appendix

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:83B/6
Location:Tp40 R8 W5
Lat/Long:52°27'N 115°02'W

Crimson Lake is a small, clear, shallow lake attractively set in rolling, pine-covered hills; in the fall, the scenery is further enhanced by blazing orange tamaracks in low-lying areas. The lake can be reached by travelling 8 km west of Rocky Mountain House on Highway 11, then 7 km north on Secondary Road 756. A short access road leads to Crimson Lake Provincial Park (Fig. 1). Crimson Lake was named by an early trapper for the spectacular sunsets he saw reflected in the water (Finlay and Finlay 1987).

Crimson Lake is located in the Municipal District of Clearwater, within the drainage basin of the North Saskatchewan River. This river, which flows 3 km east of the lake, was navigable by canoes and York boats as far as Rocky Mountain House and was the route that brought the fur trade to the area. Anthony Henday of the Hudson's Bay Company explored the area for its potential for furs in 1754; forty years later, nearby Rocky Mountain House was established as the most westerly fur-trading post in Canada at the time. Settlers arrived in the early 1900s, and in 1912, the Canadian Northern Railway crossed the area. By 1917, a small community and school had been established near Crimson Lake (Long 1977; Finlay and Finlay 1987).

In 1945, land surrounding Crimson Lake was reserved for a provincial park. A few years later, Pioneer Ranch Camp was established on the northeast shore (Long 1977). Crimson Lake Provincial Park, which was officially established in 1955, completely surrounds the lake. Facilities are open year-round and include a campground with 161 sites, a day-use area, tap water, public telephones, sewage disposal facilities and change houses (Alta. Hotel Assoc. 1988). There are two boat launches, one for canoes and hand-launched boats in the southeast corner of the lake and one with a concrete ramp farther north along the east shore (Fig. 2). Very clear water and a clean natural sand beach make the area attractive for recreational use; up to 1,500 people have visited the lake on July weekends (Mitchell 1978). The lake is used for power boating, but propellers may become tangled in the dense aquatic vegetation growing in some areas. All boats are restricted from some posted areas and power boats are limited to speeds less than 12 km/hour in other posted areas (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988). The beach is popular and so are swimming and hiking. A large skating rink is kept cleared in the winter and a network of cross-country ski trails is maintained. There are no sport fish in the lake, as they would winterkill in most years. Some provincial park land along the southwest shore is leased for cottages (Fig. 1); six cottages had been built by 1947, 102 had been built by 1977 (Long 1977) and none have been added since.

Physical Information
Area (km2)2.32
Max. Depth (m)9.1
Mean Depth (m)2.2
Dr. Basin Area (km2)1.75
Dam, WeirNone
Drainage BasinNorth Saskatchewan River Basin

Recreational Information
Camp GroundPresent
Boat LaunchPresent
Sport FishNone

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusMesotrophic
TP x (µg/L)18
CHLORO x (µg/L)4.8
TDS x (mg/L)144

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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