Sandy Lake Wilderness Area

Project Description

The Sandy Lake Wilderness Area is a 167-hectare natural area in the west of Sturgeon County. The area’s maintenance and use has been largely self-regulated. Sturgeon County initiated work to properly enhance the use of the area, a concept plan and biophysical assessment were initiated to identify potential amenities and natural area management approaches. The biophysical assessment includes things like the natural and sensitive features in the area.  

The purpose of the project is to prepare a Sandy Lake Wilderness Area Concept and Natural Area Management Plan.  

What’s Happening? 

The County is now using the input gathered to develop draft concepts for the Sandy Lake Wilderness Area. In coming months the County plans to conduct further engagement to:  

Input collected thus far is outlined in greater detail in the Sandy Lake Wilderness Area What We Heard Report.

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. 

What’s Next? 

The County is now using the information gathered to propose draft concepts for the Sandy Lake Wilderness Area. In Spring 2024, the County plans to conduct further engagement to:  

  • Identify a preferred concept plan and design approach  
  • Review options and features for budget prioritization  
  • Identify shared wilderness area management responsibilities with community partners 



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

    Completed early fall 2021.

    A consultant was retained by the County to assess the existing site conditions including the suitability for development. The completion of a Biophysical Assessment (BA) will describe the significant natural, cultural and historical features, and landscape context. It will document vegetation, wetlands, riparian condition, wildlife, species of conservation concern, surface water, contours, soils, landforms, and trails/tracks.  Based on this assessment development opportunities and constraints will be described. The consultant will assess and prioritize recreational needs of the surrounding community based on the public engagement results.  


  • Phase 2: Concept Development

    This phase forms a framework for a preferred concept design for the wilderness area. The project team will undertake a detailed evaluation of the biophysical, infrastructure, historical/cultural inventory, relevant policy documents, as well as public and stakeholder engagement outcomes. A preliminary site development program statement that establishes the extent of acceptable uses and possible facilities/infrastructure will be drafted. Opportunities and constraints mapping that summarizes the context and development of a Framework Plan will help establish landscape themes and possible land management directions.   

    The County will then bring development concept alternatives that indicate choices and directions for management zones, site access, general site circulation, uses/activities, buffers, and infrastructure options.  

    The project team will engage the pubic once again to identify a preferred concept approach. Planning for this public engagement is currently underway.   

  • Phase 3: A Vision Forward

    Draft management principles, goals, and strategies for vegetation, wildlife and habitat, hydrology and water resources, access, safety and human use to conserve the site into the future will be developed based on work completed in previous phases and the preferred concept. Site-specific benchmarks will be included for the sustainability/management plan as well as an implementation strategy and cost estimates. Opportunities for regional partnerships will be explored. Prior to Council review and approval, the concept and management plan will be presented to the public for final review and input.  

  • Phase 4: Implementation

    Based on Councils direction, administration will include the development of park features in the annual capital budget process and continue to pursue grant funding.   

No results found.


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#SturgeonCounty offices will be operating with reduced hours May 17, to accommodate a staff training event. Offices will re-open from 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM.

Fire Advisory: Due to dry conditions and a lack of precipitation, a fire advisory is now in effect for Sturgeon County as of April 3. 

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