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The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a scenic location for short nature walks and wildlife viewing opportunities near the town of Devon in Parkland County.
Protecting 348 acres of land, the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary features easy walking trails and boardwalks passing through several different landscapes including marshland, pine forest, open meadow, and aspen parkland. This mixed habitat attracts a diversity of wildlife, but the sanctuary is especially good for bird watching, with over 100 species of birds spotted in the park.
Things to Do at the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
- nature walks
- wildlife viewing
Trails at Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
There are four connected nature trails at Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary that you can walk to explore the park.
Distance: 3 km
The main trail into the sanctuary, Boardwalk Loop showcases the park’s marsh environment.
The first section of trail is a raised boardwalk that passes over and alongside the wetlands. Branching off from the trail are viewing platforms that make it easier to spot waterfowl that reside in the sanctuary.
Leaving the marsh, the trail changes from boardwalk to soil and makes its way through a meadow of grasses, wildflowers, and Saskatoon berries. The path then enters a forested area before rejoining the boardwalk and returning to the picnic area and parking lot.
Aspen Ridge Trail
Distance: 0.5 km
Aspen Ridge is a trail that cuts across the Boardwalk Loop to connect with Woodland Flower Trail.
After leaving the boardwalk at the second junction, the soil trail rises up and enters into a sheltered area of trembling aspen before descending to a junction with Boardwalk Loop and Woodland Flower Trail.
Woodland Flower Trail
Distance: 2.2 km
Starting from the junction of Boardwalk Loop and Aspen Ridge Trail, Woodland Flower Trail passes through a mixed forest of poplars, paper birch, and white spruce, before ending at a road. From here, you can turn around and walk back the way you came, or turn left and follow the road to Rge. Road 264, then go left to return to the main parking lot.
Pine Knoll Loop
Distance: 0.6 km
Pine Knoll is a short loop that is connected to the Woodland Flower Trail.
The trail climbs to a clearing with raspberry and strawberry bushes before entering a Jack pine forest. This is the only place in the park where you’ll see Jack pines since this area was once a sand dune (Jack pines prefer sandy soil).
Wildlife Viewing at Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
The diverse habitats within the sanctuary make it a great place to view wildlife. Here are some animals you might see at Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary.
Birds- There are over 100 species in the park including loons, geese, ducks, hawks, sandpipers, owls, woodpeckers, swallows, warblers, sparrows, chickadees, blackbirds, and finches.
Mammals- Some of the mammal species observed in the sanctuary include squirrels, white-tailed deer, beavers, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, snowshoe hares, weasels, and moose.
Visitors are asked to not feed the birds and other wildlife and to refrain from picking berries as they are a natural source of food for animals in the sanctuary.
Review of Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a pleasant location for nature walks near Edmonton, especially if you’re looking to experience a variety of landscapes without having to hike long distances.
The trails at Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary are suitable for all ages while the varied scenery, bird sightings, interpretive panels and brochures keep visitors engaged.
The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a great choice for both families and couples looking to connect with nature without travelling too far from Edmonton, Devon, or Spruce Grove. A visit to the sanctuary can be combined with a trip to the nearby Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area for a nature-filled day trip from Edmonton.
Tips for Visiting the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary
Location: The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is located southwest of Edmonton near the town of Devon in Parkland County. It’s about 34 km and a 35 minute drive from downtown Edmonton.
Getting There: From Highway 60 (the Devon highway), turn west at Woodbend Road/ Twp. Road 514 (about 13 km south of Highway 16A). Follow Woodbend Road for 1.6 km to Sanctuary Road/Rge. Road 264 then turn south. Continue on Sanctuary Road to the parking area on the right.
Opening Hours: The sanctuary is open year round from one hour before sunrise to sunset.
Admission Fees: None
Facilities: There’s a picnic area at the entrance to the sanctuary. Porta-potties can be found at the parking lot and along Boardwalk Loop, nearby the junction with Aspen Ridge and Woodland Flower Trail.
Visitor Guidelines: The following are some guidelines for responsible use of the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary.
- Stay on designated pathways. Trails are for walking only, not biking.
- Do not pick flowers or remove plants from the sanctuary.
- Do not pick berries as wildlife need these to survive the winter and bulk up for migration.
- Watch wildlife from a distance and avoid nesting sites. Do not feed the birds.
- Paddling on the marsh is not allowed.
- Leave no trace by packing out all your garbage.
Park Map: Here is a link to a trail map of the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary.
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