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Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary
Nature Conservancy of Canada
Located 100 km southwest of Edmonton, Coyote Lake is situated within one of the richest biological areas of Alberta. Nestled in a transition zone between the dry mixed wood boreal forest and the central parkland natural regions, the Coyote Lake area supports over 22 mammal species, 154 bird species (nine of which are imperiled), 266 plant species including a number of rare and uncommon orchids.
Important breeding bird habitat provides excellent opportunities for bird watching. Because the site contains features of the Boreal Forest, Parkland and Rocky Mountain natural regions, there are a wide variety of bird species. Coyote Lake itself provides important feeding habitat for great blue heron, nesting habitat for red-necked grebe, common loon and ring-necked duck, and a significant resting site for numerous migrating waterfowl. Wildlife species in the area include deer, elk, moose, coyote, black bear and beaver.
This area has rolling topography with numerous wetland depressions; tamarack-black spruce-sphagnum peatland, willow-birch shrubland, sedge meadows & small sloughs are common; upland vegetation consists of aspen & balsam poplar forests, with some areas of white spruce; it is the only known Alberta location for ducksmeal, a floating plant of the duckweed family.
Originally owned by Doris and Eric Hopkins, they decided to donate their land to the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 1996. The property is designated into two parts: the Nature Sanctuary (320 acres) and the Conservation Area (480 acres).
The Nature Sanctuary is open to the public for daytime visits and self-guided hikes. It is accessible by vehicle. Interpretive walks are also available for interested groups who book ahead. Group walks and guided tours are available by prior arrangement through NCC. The Coyote Lake Natural Area is operated by Alberta Tourism, Parks, Recreation & Culture. There is no overnight camping.
The lack of insecticide spraying for the past six years has allowed the bird population to increase dramatically. Consequently this area has become of great interest to both novice and serious bird watchers. Coyote Lake Nature Sanctuary is just a fifteen minute drive from Breton. The Christmas bird count is an annual event.
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