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Gardiner Lakes

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Wood Buffalo AB

Guide to the Athabasca oil sands area

Year: 1973

The oil sands area is located in northeastern Alberta adjacent to the Canadian Shield (Fig. 1). The main drainage of the area is provided by the Athabasca-Clearwater system, the valleys of which are incised into a broad, muskeg-covered interior plain to depths of 200 to 300 feet. The tributary streams originate in three highland areas (Fig. 2): the Birch Mountains to the west of the Athabasca River which rise to about 2,700 feet, Stony Mountain south of Fort McMurray which reaches an elevation of 2,500 feet, and Muskeg Mountain to the east of the Athabasca River which rises gradually to 1,900 feet. To the southwest of the area, between Birch Mountain and Stony Mountain and north of the eastward flowing Athabasca River, is a subdued highland area with gentle slopes called the Thickwood Hills. These hills give rise to northward flowing tributaries of the MacKay River, and a few short streams flowing southward to the Athabasca. A number of shallow lakes are located in the area, the largest and most numerous of which are located on the top of the Birch Mountains and form an interconnected chain of lakes, which flow into the Ells River. These are called Eaglenest, Gardiner, and Namur Lakes. The only lakes of any size south of Fort McMurray are Algar and Gregoire Lakes. McClelland Lake, which is located in the lowlands northeast of Bitumount, is an area of internal drainage.

Traditional fisheries of the Fort McKay First Nation

Author(s): Stanislawski, S.

Year: 1998

This study documents traditional fisheries and their uses within the aboriginal community of Fort McKay, located about 50 km north of Fort McMurray in north-eastern Alberta. Fourteen current and past fishermen in the community of Fort MacKay were interviewed between March 22, 1997 to March 22, 1998 for this study. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the distribution of traditional fishing locations of the Fort McKay First Nation; to determine the relative importance and use of these fisheries; to determine all uses for the fisheries resource in the community; and to initiate a way of monitoring the Namur/Gardiner lakes system in particular, since this system is still relatively undisturbed and relied upon to provide quality fish to the Fort McKay community.Eighty-eight sites in forty-one different locations were identified as traditional fishing grounds for the Fort McKay First Nation, which concentrate on the Athabasca River corridor, Namur/Gardiner Lakes system and the Firebag River drainage. The author describes how fishing camps were set up along these traditional locations to smoke and dry fish for human consumption, provide stores of dog food and bait for trapping fur bearers. This study goes on to document some particulars regarding traditional fishing such as the various species caught, number of lines set, fishing methods, type of bait, and the angling gear used.