Regional leisure tourism is an important economic driver in the LSLEA region. Located within easy driving range of greater Edmonton's population of one million, the region is home to spectacular natural features including lakes, rivers, unique boreal areas and bird habitats, as well as wild land parks.
Lesser Slave Lake has been called western Canada's freshwater ocean, and it's a popular holiday destination for Albertans and out-of-province visitors alike. As the eighth-largest lake in Canada—its surface area is 1,168 square kilometres—Lesser Slave Lake is the largest entirely in Alberta.
One of the most picturesque campgrounds in the province has to be Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park. Prevailing winds aided by major storms have produced some of the finest beaches in the province. Named after the Duke of Devonshire, who visited the area in 1920, Devonshire Beach is popular for swimming, paddle-boarding and windsurfing. At the north end of Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, the land rises sharply from the lake for 450 metres to the summit of Marten Mountain. The 983-metre Marten Mountain Viewpoint overlooks the lake. Nearby, lakeshore trails provide access to ancient beach ridges and shifting sand dunes.
The Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation at Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park is a world-class research and education facility offering year-round interpretive programs. It features an interactive exhibit gallery, gift shop featuring local artists, and lots of hiking trails. During spring and fall migration, tours of the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory are also available.
Just as compelling for visitors is Winagami Lake Provincial Park. The park encompasses over 160 square kilometres and boasts a breakwater erected by the province in 1984 to improve recreational opportunities.
Hilliard's Bay Provincial Park on the northwest side of Lesser Slave Lake, features 174 campsites with 139 that are electrical sites. Campsites have lots of trees for privacy, and a sandy beach is not far from the boat launch.
Calling Lake is another regional draw for waterfowl. Located in a boreal forest reserve, Calling Lake's marshy shores provide nesting grounds for waterfowl and habitat for white pelicans and great blue herons. On the lake's southern shore, Calling Lake Provincial Park —about 55 kilometres north of Athabasca—offers rustic camping, fishing, and other recreational activities. The lake received its name from a translation of an Aboriginal word for the loud noises the ice on the lake makes as it freezes.
Speaking of cold weather, an array of typical winter activities like skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling abound. In the winter months, ice fishing is a popular sport. Fishing huts dot the lake with access from every community along the south shore, Widewater, Canyon Creek, Faust, Kinuso, and Joussard.
Near Swan Hills, a fantastic 400-kilometre network of designated snowmobile trails has been a mecca for sledding enthusiasts for years. An initiative of the Swan Hills Snow-Goers snowmobile club in partnership with the Town of Swan Hills, all trails are signed, groomed, and maintained in good condition.
Throughout the region you can find numerous golf courses, museums, hiking trails and aquatic centres. Visit the links to our members' websites for more information.