Thursday, July 28, 2011

Long Island Lake Municipal Campground

Last weekend we were looking for a place to do some front country camping with friends that wasn't too far from the city of Edmonton.

We decided to try Long Island Lake Municipal Campground near Westlock, AB.  The campground is a small, well run, campground with a rather pleasant beach area.  Most visitors seemed to be family oriented, perhaps because of the beach which has a playground on the perimeter.  We were glad to notice this was not the 'party all night' crowd and things were very quiet by 11:30pm.  A large number of ATVs were present in the campground but all of the owners respected the rules and left the machines on their trailers.

Campsites vary in privacy but overall are decently sheltered from the neighboring site, with the exception of a few that are very near the road and are more RV oriented.

All things considered it is a decent option for a quick camping trip if you are not looking to drive too far from the Edmonton area.  It seems to book up early so you may have trouble securing a site last minute.

View Long Island Lake Campground in a larger map

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lakeland Canoe Circuit

While I was researching a trip to the Lakeland Provincial Park area, I was in search of GPS coordinates to help me locate the backcountry camp sites.  Unable to find such a resource I decided to make some records while I was in the area.

Before departing I cross referenced points on the official map to points on my topo map I had loaded into Garmin Basecamp.  This gave me a good estimation of both portage and campsite locations.  These proved to be reasonably accurate.

I'll provide both estimated gps waypoint data as well as actual gps waypoint data for the sites I visited in this post.

Some general observation are that campsites and portages are not always marked well.  Some have nice signage, while others have none at all.  Trails are well maintained for the most part with little bushwhacking and walking though mud required.  Jackson lake seems to be much more windy then the others so perhaps plan some extra time when traversing that lake.  Motor boats are present on all lakes but are generally small and do not create huge wakes.  Canoe carts are present at all portages and seem to be in very good shape.

The official map is provided here.  Alberta parks site is hereLac La Biche has some additional information on their site.

Jackson Lake Area

Jackson Lake Staging Area
N54 51.655 W111 32.736

Jackson Lake Staging Area Dock
N54 50.373 W111 31.359
This is the end of the trail leading from the parking lot to Jackson Lake.

Jackson Lake East Campground 
N54 48.757 W111 31.354

-3 Tent Pads
- Some movable Benches
- Many picnic tables
- Bear bag hang
- One fire pit for each site

Jackson Lake South Campground
 N54 48.250 W111 31.757 (Approximate)
 - I have not visited this site.
- Accessible from Kinnaird Lake as well as Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake Peninsula Campground
N54 48.331 W111 32.934

- 1 Tent pad
- Bear Proof Locker
- May be open to weather
- Due to a high water level this was actually an island site when I visited instead of a peninsula.
- fixed place picnic table with firepit.

Mile 10 Campground
N54 49.091 W111 34.632 (Approximate)
- I did not visit this site.
- Accessible by quads (atvs)

Kinnaird Lake

Kinnaird Lake Campground
N54 47.200 W111 32.145 (Approximate)
- I did not visit this site.
- Map shows 1 site

Kinnaird Island Campground
N54 47.083 W111 31.561 (Approximate)

- I did not visit this site.
- Map shows 3 sites

Unnamed Campground
N54 46.918 W111 31.241 (Approximate)
- I did not visit this site.
- Map shows 2 sites

Portage Between Kinnaird Lake and Blackett Lake
N54 44.958 W111 32.193 (Kinnaird Lake Side)
N54 44.804 W111 32.806 (Blackett Lake Side, Approximate)

- When I was there water levels were high and the Blackett end of the portage was underwater.
- 3 carts were available, however I had to hike to the other side to get one.

Blackett Lake Area

Blackett West Campground
N54 43.968 W111 34.194 (Approximate)

- I did not visit this site.
- Map shows 1 site

Unnamed Campground
N54 43.555 W111 34.342
- Located on an island
- One tent site
- Grass is very high and overgrown
- No obvious bear bag hang or bear proof locker on site
- Area behind picnic site is very overgrown and makes the site feel enclosed
- A bear and two cubs were spotted on the island earlier in the day so I left in search of a different place to stay

Blackett Lake Southwest
N54 42.546 W111 34.707 (Approximate)

- I went by this sites location but could not see the actual campground, only an unused trail presumably for snowmobiles.
- No signs were present
- Did not look used at all if it did exist

Blackett Lake Campground
N54 42.663 W111 34.069 (Approximate)
- Located at the end of an quad (atv) trail used to haul in motor boats from the road.
- seemed like a busy site with lots of quads and motor boats

N54 42.581 W111 33.798
- Located in the same area as the above sites but on the opposite site of a peninsula.
- One site
- Bear proof storage locker
- Nice clear side
- Had a bear wander into the site just before departing for the day.  He got scared when he spotted me and ran up a tree.

Blackett East
N54 43.668 W111 33.151 (Approximate)
- I did not visit this site.
- Map shows 1 site

Unnamed Campground
N54 43.591 W111 32.591 (Approximate)
- I did not visit this site.

Portage Between Blackett Lake and McGuffin Lake
N54 44.910 W111 34.429 (Blackett Lake Side)
N54 45.552 W111 35.093 (McGuffin Lake Side)
McGuffin Lake Area

McGuffin Lake Campground
N54 46.695 W111 35.470 (Approximate)
- I did not visit this site.
- Map shows 2 sites

Portage Between McGuffin Lake and Jackson Lake Ponds
N54 46.986 W111 34.225 (McGuffin Lake Side)
N54 47.222 W111 34.218 (Jackson Lake Side)
- Short 750m portage
- Avoid the tall narrow cart which is of a different design then all the others.  If no other cards are available, it is easier to hike to the other side and get a 'normal' cart.

* Please note this information is provided as-is with all faults.  The content here is provided on a casual basis and is simply a documentation of my experiences at this park and should not be used as a substitute for official documentation.