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Home » Lakes of the Atlas » North Saskatchewan Region » North Saskatchewan River Basin » Lac Ste. Anne

Lac Ste. Anne

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

1. Introduction

Map Sheets:83G/9, 10
Location:Tp54, 55 R3, 4 W5
Lat/Long:53°42'N 114°25'W

West of the city of Edmonton lies a large, popular recreational lake known as Lac Ste. Anne. It is a special lake for many people because of its long history and spiritual symbolism, and because of its recreational attractiveness. Located in the County of Lac Ste. Anne, it is reached easily from Edmonton: take Highway 16 west to the Highway 43 turnoff, then turn north and drive for 10 km. Take Secondary Road 633 west for 10 km to the summer village of Alberta Beach on the east end of the lake (Fig. 1). There are access points all around the lake, but Alberta Beach is a centre of activity for most visitors on summer weekends.

The recorded history of Lac Ste. Anne goes back to 1843 when Father Jean Baptiste Thibault established a mission on the south shore where Mission Creek enters the lake. Before Father Thibault renamed the lake for his patron saint, it was called by the Cree name Manitou Sakhahigan, which means "Lake of the Spirit" (Holmgren and Holmgren 1976). Long before Europeans arrived, the lake was visited by the Cree and other native people because the water was thought to have healing properties (Alta. Cult. Multicult. n.d.). Even today, native people from a wide area gather at the mission site for a few days in July to celebrate the Christian faith and bathe in the waters of Lac Ste. Anne, as they have since 1889.

The Alexis Indian Reserve 133 is located on the northwest shore of the lake. The Alexis Band of Stoney Indians settled on their traditional hunting grounds at Lac Ste. Anne after Treaty No. 6 was signed in 1876 (Alta. Native Aff. 1986).

The summer village of Alberta Beach was established by the Canadian Northern Railway shortly after the turn of the century. Castle Island, at the east end of the lake, was bought by Viscount Charles de Gaze; he started building a stone castle on the island in 1890, but it was never completed. Eventually the island was subdivided and incorporated into a summer village (Alta. Beach Dist. Pioneers Archives Soc. 1982). Now there are seven summer villages and a number of subdivisions around the lakeshore (Fig. 2).

Lac Ste. Anne becomes quite green in midsummer, but this does not deter the crowds of people who swim at the sandy beach along the east shore. Fishing for northern pike, lake whitefish, walleye and yellow perch is an equally popular activity. Lac Ste. Anne, all inlet streams and the outlet are closed to fishing during designated periods in spring (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1989). Since about 1986, a popular and productive winter sport fishery for perch has developed, and perch up to 0.7 kg have been caught (Watters 1989). The lake supports commercial and domestic fisheries as well as the sport fishery.

Other activities include sightseeing, power boating, sailing, water skiing and wind surfing in summer, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in winter. Large boats may be launched at Alberta Beach and at the narrows, and there are several other boat access points around the shore (Fig. 2). In posted areas, all boats are prohibited, or power-driven boats are subject to a maximum speed of 12 km/hour (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988).

Camping facilities at Lac Ste. Anne include two public campgrounds and several commercial campgrounds. The public campground at Alberta Beach is operated by the summer village and has a beach, a public boat launch, boat rentals, a concession, flush toilets and showers, with 80 serviced campsites and about 20 unserviced campsites. It is open from mid-May to the end of September. An Alberta Transportation and Utilities campground is located along Highway 43 near the hamlet of Gunn (Fig. 2); it has pump water, a kitchen shelter and 25 campsites. A grocery store and other consumer services are located at Alberta Beach and at Gunn. Also near Gunn is a University of Alberta biological station. A large area of Crown land south of the narrows and an area south of Horse Island at the west end are reserved for a provincial park, but as of 1989, the park was still in the planning stage.

Physical Information
Area (km2)54.5
Max. Depth (m)9
Mean Depth (m)4.8
Dr. Basin Area (km2)619
Dam, WeirNone
Drainage BasinNorth Saskatchewan River Basin

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

Water Quality Information
Trophic StatusEutrophic
TP x (µg/L)West: 44
East: 48
CHLORO x (µg/L)West: 32.7
East: 17.9
TDS x (mg/L)West: 165
East: 174

2.Drainage Basin Characteristics »

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