RECREATIONAL RESOURCES

Tourism and recreational activity is often dictated by weather conditions (that influence flows in the Milk River and recreation opportunity), and provincial or state economy, as people tend to travel less when economic conditions are poor. The number of visitors recreating in the watershed can be an indicator of the stresses that might be placed on natural resources, as well as an indicator of human health and that of the local economy.

Numerous recreational opportunities are provided within national, provincial, municipal and private parks, as well as in designated natural areas, ecological reserves and wildlife management areas. Recreational access to lands under grazing lease (on Public Lands) is only permitted with permission from the leaseholder.

Recreational activities (i.e., camping, river sports, hunting and fishing) available at select recreation sites within the watershed:

  • Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park (Áísínai’pi National Historic Site):
  • Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park:
  • Del Bonita Campground:
    • Camping is by donation. There are camp shelters and outhouse facilities on site. This campground makes for a good stopping location for a North Fork canoe trip from a local crossing or the 501 bridge West of Del Bonita. Canoes are recommended to stop above the campground as hazards are located below the bridge deck.
    • Del Bonita County Association, Phone: (403) 758-6211
  • Gold Springs Park:
  • Eight Flags Campground (Town of Milk River):
  • Weir Bridge:
    • A popular access point used by canoeists, rafters and tubers throughout the summer. There is no overnight camping allowed at this site. The County of Warner maintains the site and includes a large picnic shelter, stove, fire pit, and parking area. 
  • Poverty Rock:
    • A primitive campsite within the new land of Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, this is an area loaded with local history. Many believe this was an important meeting site for First Nations within the watershed and became a gathering spot for the first European Settlers. This is also an excellent safe location to stop for a lunch break on the Coffin to Wier Bridge day canoe trip.

Canoe the Milk River

Canoeing the Milk River is one of the best ways of exploring the watershed! But conditions can change rapidly and often temperatures on the river can significantly exceed recorded temperatures above the river valley. Pre-planning your trip is critical to ensure a fun and safe adventure. Times between legal and safe take out locations vary significantly. Please use the following information to help plan your expedition: 

Access

The Milk River watershed offers numerous opportunities for tourism and recreation. Hunting, hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, camping and other recreational activities attract numerous users to the area every year. With public use increasing, it is important to have access guidelines and conditions in place that protect agricultural operators and their livestock, that ensure the safety of recreational users, and that protect water bodies, riparian areas and other important landscape and environmental features which draw recreation users to the basin.

Access is also sought to private lands: by hunters pursuing waterfowl, upland birds or big game; and by recreational users who need to cross private land to gain access to the Milk River (or other water bodies), and to particular landscape features. Recreationists should understand that preserving the existing rights of landowners and leaseholders with respect to privacy, production value and commercial value of their land is crucial.

Due to the large area of public land in Alberta the province has developed a recreational access policy that ensures reasonable access to public lands for recreational users while ensuring that livestock/agricultural operators can protect their herds and the grasslands that sustain them.

The Recreational Access Regulation, which falls under the Public Lands Act, is legislation that provides for the needs of recreationists and disposition holders on public lands. The regulation outlines how recreational use of public land can occur in a responsible and sustainable fashion while protecting the rights and livelihood of disposition holders.

Water forecast

Due to the influence of the St Mary River Water on the Milk River it is critically important to watch river flow conditions before venturing out for water sports activities. Low flows cause significant hazards with exposed rocks and sand bars which can easily strand users in dangerous situations. A minimum flow of 18m3/s should be observed at the Milk River gauging station before attempting any trip on the river.

Milk River flow at Milk River Gauging station link:

http://www.environment.alberta.ca/apps/basins/DisplayData.aspx?Type=Figure&BasinID=11&DataType=1&StationID=RMILMIL