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Provincial government announces redesignation of Muriel Lake Provincial Recreation Area

LAKELAND - The Alberta Government has officially announced the redesignation of Muriel Lake Provincial Recreation Area (PRA). This decision signifies the end of its management under the Provincial Parks Act, with the site now set to be governed under the Public Lands Act.

The move is grounded in practical considerations, according to information from the provincial government, as the area has been non-operational since 2000 due to receding lake levels.

According to the Government of Alberta Parks website, Muriel Lake Provincial Recreational Area, originally a highway wayside site established by Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors, has been closed to the public since 2000. Receding lake levels rendered the site non-functional, leading to the removal of facilities in 2005. Despite remediation efforts in 2015, the area remains closed to public use.

The site, covering approximately 8.4 hectares and located about 15 kilometers south of Bonnyville, has now undergone the final administrative step of deregulation, according to the Government of Alberta.

Deregulation is the final administrative step of the former permanent closure and decommissioning of this site. “Deregulation means that Muriel Lake’s provincial recreation area designation has been rescinded, and it will no longer be managed under the Provincial Parks Act. These lands will be managed as public lands under the Public Lands Act,” according to the provincial government.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul MLA Scott Cyr echoed information released by the Minister of Forestry and Parks. “Minister [Todd] Loewen saw the necessity of the redesignation of the Muriel Lake highway wayside. It was a decision driven by practical considerations, given that the area hadn't been operational since 2000 due to receding lake levels.”

Addressing concerns about the impact on area residents, Cyr reassures the community, saying, "Regarding the impact on local residents who use Muriel Lake, I want to reassure everyone that the redesignation to Crown land will not adversely affect their usage of the area. This transition maintains public access and recreation and reflects a continuation of how the area has actually functioned over the last two decades."

Cyr emphasizes the strategic nature of this decision, stating, "I would like to add that this redesignation allows for a more focused investment in actual parks within the area. The Lakeland region is fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful, well-maintained parks. This strategic approach ensures that Forestry and Parks’ resources are optimally used to enhance public access and recreation opportunities in Northern Alberta.”

Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lakeland This Week