Fort Vermilion is nestled on the banks of the Peace River in the Boreal Forest Region of Canada's north. Aspen, Poplar, and White Spruce forests predominate with local stands of White (paper) Birch and Balsam fir. Jack Pine prevails on sand and gravel soils, whereas Black Spruce and Tamarack are dominant in the muskeg areas. Extensive Aspen parklands once covered much of the area. The grasslands were given the names, John D'or Prairie, Prairie Point, Buffalo Head Prairie, Wilson Prairie, and Savage Prairie. Saskatoons, Chokecherries, Pin Cherries, Roses, and other fruiting shrubs can form dense undergrowth along with  Willows and Alders - beneath which many herbaceous, moss and lichen species thrive.

The Boreal Forest of this County is one of the largest to be found in Canada.  Representative and unique landscapes within the region have been designated for research, education, recreation, and/or wildlife habitat preservation.  These 'Ecospaces' include the Ducks Unlimited Gull Lake Wetland, the Wadlin Lake Pelican Colony, candidate and designated Natural Areas of Watt Mountain, the Ponton River, Child Lake Meadows, Caribou River, and Harper Creek. The Hay Zama and Caribou Mountain Wildlands are more extensive protected places.


Still needing formal designation are the fragile and threatened "Hungry Bend Sandhills". This island of wilderness is central to seven settlements (Fort Vermilion, Boyer River, Rocky Lane, Eleske High Level, Paddle Prairie, La Crete).  The Sandhills are distinctive nationally, from ecological, geological, historical and archaeological perspectives and for interesting paleontology.

It is the wisdom and actions of decision makers that will dictate the future of such remaining "landscapes of the heart". Much of the Mackenzie County has been 'earmarked' for farming, logging and other industrial purposes. Intensive recreational pursuits follow as new lands are being opened.

For years, people have come to Fort Vermilion and connected with nature.  A quick click on the following "ecospaces" will start your journey too!

The Stewards of Alberta Protected Areas Association has a phenomenal interactive map for learning about all the Eco-Spaces and other protected areas throughout the province. Click here to access their website and map External link opens in new tab or windowSAPAASAPAA