Wapiti Recreation Area Management Plan

Have your say in the development of an
outdoor recreation space in the Grande Prairie Area!

The County invites your feedback on plans to transform depleted gravel leases (gravel pits) north of the Wapiti River and east of Highway 40. Through the remediation of this land, our plan is to create a low-impact outdoor recreation area with new habitat and ecosystems.

Before you take the survey, we invite you on a quick tour of the Wapiti Recreation Area.
PowerPoint Here [PDF - 2.9 MB]

TAKE THE SURVEY 

Background

Over the past 50 years, various organizations have extracted gravel from the public lands in the Wapiti River Valley. Today, all but one of the gravel pits (dispositions) have been depleted. 

In August 2016, working in close consultation with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) and Alberta Transportation, the County of Grande Prairie Council approved a draft Management Plan for the Wapiti Recreation Area (also known as the depleted Wapiti gravel leases).

The Plan: to provide low-impact outdoor recreational opportunities through remediation of the gravel pits, resulting in the creation of new habitat and ecosystems.

Where: the land includes the 130 hectares of gravel leases on the north side of the Wapiti River and east of Highway 40 (between Highway 40 and the water line running from the Aquatera water storage site to Grande Prairie).

How will development be phased? The 75-hectare portion (Phase I) closest to Highway 40 is fully depleted of its gravel.  The remaining 55-hectare gravel pit (Phase II) to the east will not be ready to convert to recreational use until the rest of the gravel has been extracted by the holder of the existing lease, Wapiti Gravel Suppliers.

Recreation Opportunities

The area is located within a Key Wildlife and Biodiversity Zone (KWBZ), meaning there are several environmental sensitivities in the area. Permitted recreational opportunities must minimize disturbances to land and wildlife and must encourage remediation of the natural ecosystem. 

With thorough planning and proper management, the land will become a unique recreational resource that will encourage enjoyment of the natural world and environmental stewardship. Activities proposed include snowshoeing, walking and cycling trails; a picnic area; a playground; an outdoor classroom; and an Indigenous component. After the gravel is depleted from the second portion, fishing from a dock and non-motorized watercraft will be allowed in a newly constructed wetlands area. 

Possible plans include future connectivity to a non-motorized trail from Clairmont to the Nitehawk Year-Round Adventure Park. Also under consideration, requiring further research and consultation, are a bike/BMX track, an off-leash dog area, an area designed for camping or tenting, and a model airplane runway and storage building.

Due to environmental sensitivity, no motorized vehicles or hunting will be allowed anywhere in the Wapiti Recreation Area.

Consultation Process

The Aboriginal Consultation Office has indicated that County has adequately consulted with Horse Lake First Nation.

Open House/Public Consultation took place November 2 at the ENTREC Centre (Evergreen Park)   

Electronic public survey – runs November 2 to 24 (open to all residents, landowners and recreation users in the County of Grande Prairie, City of Grande Prairie, MD of Greenview and surrounding municipalities)

Following these steps, and prior to the Plan being sent back to County Council, the Government of Alberta must grant approval for the gravel lease to be issued in the name of the County of Grande Prairie.

County administration will then move forward to develop an implementation plan that details the exact components to be included in the recreation area, and how they will be constructed and phased.

Contact

For more information about the Wapiti Recreation Area Management Plan, contact Christine Rawlins, Parks and Recreation Manager at 780-532-9727 or by email at wapitirec@countygp.ab.ca