McGregor Lake Provincial Recreation Area Beach, AB
McGregor Lake Provincial Recreation Area Beach Short Term Forecast
McGregor Lake is another Southern Alberta reservoir and the PRA with 100 campsites in a rustic grassy prairie setting is in the North end of the reservoir.The PRA and 'beach' have a 'middle of nowhere' feel. The beach area is by an older boat launch and is not really a beach at all but grassy rocky wading area. The water is clear and inviting in the unmarked unsupervised swimming area.There is also a manual water pump dry toilets refuse containers community kitchen playground and boat launch. Lake McGregor is excellent for boating water skiing and swimming. The reservoir was created for irrigation and is approximately 22km long with the dam on the North end. It's close location to Calgary makes it a favorite for boaters. The boat launch is well constructed but poorly located. The winds that blow up the lake sideways to the launch makes loading a boat very difficult and often requires one to enter the water to prevent the boat from blowing over the trailer wheels. Cover your children's ears if boaters are trying to trailer their boats here cursing can be extreme. The reservoir offers good Pike and Walleye fishing you'll need a fishing license to try out your luck. The grassy knoll next to the campground is excellent for astronomers and star gazers. Night skies here rank # 3 on the Bortle Scale with views to the horizon in all directions. There is about half km of gravel road before reaching the campground. Birding: American white pelicans and double-crested cormorants forage on the reservoir from April to September (numbers of non-breeding pelicans in this area are among the highest observed anywhere in Alberta) in spring and fall the area is an important waterfowl staging area (snow geese Canada geese greater white-fronted geese) blue-winged teals and northern shovelers can be seen in spring and summer marbled godwits and long-billed curlews live in the surrounding dry prairie.Swimming: McGregor Lake is very cold.McGregor Lake is an elongated (40 by 2 km or 25 by 1.2 mi) reservoir in Southern Alberta. McGregor Lake was created in 1920 by the completion of two dams bracketing Snake Lake in Snake Valley. It is situated 100 km (62 mi) southeast of the Calgary in the County of Vulcan. The reservoir is part of the Carseland-Bow River Headworks System that is owned and operated by Alberta Environment and delivers water to the Bow River Irrigation District. McGregor Lake is in the Oldman River drainage basin but most water in it arrives via canals from the Bow River. The reservoir was built by British-owned Canada Land and Irrigation Company and named after J. D. McGregor the company's Canadian manager who became Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba in 1929.HistoryThe reservoir occupies part of the Snake Valley prehistorically a thoroughfare for members of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The first European settlers arrived mid-nineteenth century. Ranching was well established by the 1880s. Shortly after homesteading and farming were prevalent in the valley. The rich soil and dry climate led to an interest in irrigation. Construction began in 1909 on a major reservoir.Two dams were built - one in the north near Milo Alberta and a second south dam. McGregor Lake was created when the Canada Land and Irrigation Company completed the South and North McGregor dams. Some of the water in the reservoir comes from the Old Man River but a canal was also constructed to bring water from the Bow River near Carseland. Construction was a ten year project the reservoir began filling in 1920. It was administered as a private company until 1950 when the federal Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration assumed control and modified the dam into a zoned earthfill structure from its previously homogeneous state. In 1973 McGregor Lake and its control structures were transferred to Alberta Environment. Sports and recreationSwimming and boating access is at McGregor Lake Recreation Area (formerly Milo Campground) an Alberta Provincial Park site with camping facilities at the northwest corner of the lake. Amenities include a boat launch playgrounds and picnic shelters. Small boats can also be launched at Lomond Crossing where Secondary Road 531 crosses the lake. Sport fishing yields Walleye Yellow Perch Lake Whitefish Rainbow Trout and Northern Pike (Jackfish). Spawning lake whitefish can be seen in October at the sluice gate on the northwest corner of the lake. Local residents have reported catching up to 10 kilogram (22 lb) northern pike.A campground picnic area and boat launch are provided at the north end of the lake.McGregor Lake has attractive clear water. Algal concentrations are usually low and do not interfere with recreational use. Activities enjoyed at the lake include picnicking swimming fishing wind surfing canoeing water skiing and power boating. A major cottage development has formed in recent years on the east shore of the lake near the village of Milo.American white pelicans and double-crested cormorants often forage on this large prairie reservoir from April to September. In spring and fall the lake is an important staging area for waterfowl including snow geese Canada geese and greater white-fronted geese. Blue-winged teals and northern shovelers can be seen in spring and summer. The surrounding dry prairie uplands offer opportunities to observe marbled godwits and long-billed curlews. Prairie plants include such exotic species as the cushion cactus with its burgundy blooms and the prickly pear cactus with its prominent yellow blossoms both flower in June.
Tested weekly from May 30 to August 30
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