Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve



       Region/Province/ or State


       Web Address
       Date designated 2016
        Size (hectares)


       Distinguishing Features

morainic landscape developed during the progressive retreat of glaciers

       Main Industries (in terms of employment)

agriculture, tourism, industry

The Beaver Hills/Cooking Lake moraine is a distinct geomorphological feature that encompasses 1572 km2 (607 mi2). Representing an island of boreal mixedwood forest, the hummocky “knob and kettle” terrain of the moraine forms a patchwork of depressional areas, many of which support wetlands, small lakes and streams.

Just 20 minutes east Edmonton, Alberta, the landscape spans across 5 counties and includes Elk Island National Park, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and the Strathcona Wilderness Centre.

The Initiative has grown to over 20 member organizations, which includes four local governments: Strathcona County, Lamont County, Beaver County and Leduc County. In addition, the provincial and federal government, local residents, indigenous organizations, NGOs and academia comprise the list of member organizations.

What do we do?

The BHI is the platform where everyone gets together to share and develop tools and knowledge to balance sustainable economic and human development with environmental conservation.

When did it start?

The Beaver Hills Initiative was formed in 2002 after the staff at Elk Island National Park recognized a need for regional collaboration to address development and land use planning within the moraine.

Why did it start?

To address unprecedented pressures from rapid growth and increased economic activity in and around the Beaver Hills moraine.