Sandy Lake Wilderness Area

Project Description

The Sandy Lake Wilderness Area is a 167-hectare natural area in the west of Sturgeon County. The County is looking at ways to make this space more accessible for residents to use for recreation.

The County is creating the Sandy Lake Wilderness Area Concept and Natural Area Management Plan to help guide the development of the site. Public feedback was gathered to inform what amenities people want to see (like a parking lot, benches, and trails) and what activities they want to do (like boating, biking, or birdwatching) in the new park space.

This is a concept plan with no timeline for construction.

 

What We Heard

The feedback gathered from the recent Survey (May 2024) is being analyzed to form a What We Heard Report. This report will inform future plans for the project.

Input collected during the 2021 public engagement is detailed in the Sandy Lake Wilderness Area What We Heard Report.

Sturgeon County Council also engaged Alexander First Nation to request information about the traditional uses, cultural, ceremonial, or sacred sites within the Sandy Lake area and how best to protect those spaces.

Updates

  • Phase 1: Lay of the Land
    September 30, 2021

    Completed early fall 2021.

    The County hired a consultant to assess the existing site conditions, including the suitability for development. The Biophysical Assessment (BA) describes the significant natural, cultural, and historical features and landscape considerations. It documents the vegetation, wetlands, riparian condition, wildlife, species of conservation concern, surface water, contours, soils, landforms, and trails/tracks. The BA also looked at the recreational needs of the surrounding community.

  • Phase 2: Concept Development

    Currently in progress, April 2024.

     

    A framework plan was developed to identify the opportunities and constraints of the Sandy Lake area. This framework also establishes landscape themes and possible land management directions.

    The County is asking the public for feedback on the options for management zones, site access, ideal uses and activities, and infrastructure options.

    An online survey was open from April 22 to May 17, 2024. Stakeholder groups were invited to participate in workshops to seek ideas for how Sturgeon County and different organizations could collaborate to achieve the development objectives.

    The latest ‘What We Heard Report’ summarizing the engagement findings is being drafted and will be available in Summer 2024.

  • Phase 3: A Vision Forward
    January 1, 2025

    A site plan will be drafted to ensure the sustainable development of the new park while protecting environmentally sensitive areas. The plan will consider native plants and wildlife, waterways and wetlands, and how people will access and use the space.

    This draft plan will also consider when development could start, what amenities could be created first, and the cost estimates for construction. The County will also explore opportunities for regional partnerships to manage the space.

    There will be another opportunity for public input during this phase before the plan is presented to Sturgeon County Council.

  • Phase 4: Implementation

    Before construction can begin on the new park space, Sturgeon County Council must approve the final project plan and budget. Then, funding must be determined, which includes applying for grants from the provincial and federal governments and proposing the project in the County’s annual capital budget process.

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