(Top- Hummer; Centre-Kinvig; Bottom-Bulka)
February, despite the lengthening hours of daylight and being the shortest month of the year, is still locked in the full clutches of Old Man Winter. We have enjoyed a respite from the cold during this recent warm spell, but spring is still many weeks away.
While the recent snowmelt has spoiled most trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, I have been taking advantage of the lack of snow by exploring some of the beautiful protected areas in Central Alberta, especially those east of Red Deer, on foot. Be sure to wear cleats, as many of the trails and game trails are now very icy.
Three Rural Properties to Explore in February:
1. Kinvig – this 615-acre property is located east of Elnora. It is a beautiful full section of rolling aspen parkland intermixed with wetlands and small lakes. Go east of Elnora on Twp Rd 352, then south on RR 274 on the east or RR 275 on the west. There are oil wells on both sides that provide parking and access. Do not block the entrances. This is an open access property, so no permission is required to access it. Several high hills provide views in all directions.
Partners: Nature Conservancy of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada. https://connect2nature.ca.
2. Hummer – Located northwest of Elnora, this is an interesting property to visit in the winter, as both the uplands as well as the lakes (the lake on the east side of the road is also on land owned by DU) can be easily explored. The steep hill across the north side of the property offers a dramatic view of the valley. Also of interest is that there is a large spring adjacent to the road which runs all winter. Minnows congregate in these springs and can easily viewed along the ditch. Access to this property is north off Highway 590 up RR 240. Watch for DU signage on the west side of the road; park in gateway. This is a fair-weather road that may not be regularly plowed.
Partners: Ducks Unlimited Canada
3. Bulka – This 476-acre site is located on the south side of Highway 590, just west of Highway 21. The property consists of a series of rolling aspen-dominated hills and wetlands. Although there are no official trails, old seismic cut lines make winter exploration easy. The hills are steep but the views from the hilltops are worth the effort. Park off the road by the ACA large sign.
Partners: Alberta Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Nature Conservancy of Canada