Thank you to Ethel Coates for leaving her legacy as this special piece of nature, for all to enjoy in perpetuity.
Wildlife and Habitat
This natural area consists almost entirely of parkland forest, a habitat that is disappearing rapidly. This crucial habitat is located within an important wildlife corridor, Willow Creek, which allows wildlife safe passage from the surrounding agricultural areas, to the river valley a few kilometers away.
The majority of the natural area is covered by mixedwoods forest with an aspen, poplar, birch, and spruce canopy and richly diverse understorey including red-osier dogwood, prickly rose, wild raspberry, honeysuckle, and multiple fern species. The property is dissected by a meandering creek with sections of sheer cliff banks and adjacent riparian plants such as willows, bulrushes, reeds, and sedges. Shadowing a portion of the creek is a white spruce forest stand with many plants like fairybells, wintergreen, twinflower, wild strawberry, and stair-step moss lining the forest floor.
Coates is home to wood frogs, crayfish, mammals such as moose, coyote, beaver, porcupine, and a wide variety of birds including red-tailed hawks, great blue herons, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, mourning doves, eastern phoebes, ravens, and chickadees.
This natural area is located in an Environmentally Significant Area of Regional Importance and High Sensitivity. Willow Creek runs into the North Saskatchewan River, approximately 2 km away, therefore conserving this land protects a crucial link of a network of wildlife corridors and an integral part of the watershed.
This section of creek has historical significance too: hadrosaur footprints were extracted by helicopter in the early 1990’s, as well as albertosaurus skin impression & dinosaur bones. The area was therefore rated as having high potential for historic resources, by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit.
Stewardship Highlights and Recent News
- We are working on documenting the species found on the property.
- Raised over $10,000 from supporters to fund initial conservation activities.