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Spring walk coming up at J.J. Collett Natural Area

Organizers are gearing up for this year's spring walk at J.J. Collett Natural Area
Organizers are excited about this year's spring walk at the J.J. Collett Natural Area.

It’s just about time to hit the scenic trails of the J.J. Collett Natural Area for the annual spring walk, set for May 26 at 2 p.m. 

The site is located near Morningside and consists of 635 acres of Aspen Parkland. On May 26, there will be guided tours with local naturalists who will identify plants and wildlife against the backdrop of the spring season. 

There are two walks - one that is more extensive and provides more detail, and another which is shorter.

The event will wrap up with a get-together complete with refreshments and snacks, said Jack Surbey, president of the foundation. Everyone is welcome to join, and are asked to meet at the timber structure inside the gates. 

According to the website, more than 18 km of maintained trails, “Wind through a mosaic of shrub lands, aspen groves, stands of white spruce on moist shady hillsides, wetlands, and grassy meadows typical of the area.” 

Dunes are a unique feature of this area as well.

Meanwhile funding for projects comes from supporters who donate annually, fundraisers, the selling of memberships, and provincial grants. The J.J. Collett Natural Area Foundation was established in 1985, and it also gained charitable status around that time as well, he said.

Surbey, who joined the foundation in the 80s and has been president for much of the time since, said a major goal this year is to see a more accessible trail constructed for those with mobility issues.

"We'd like to see that put in where our new boardwalk is, so we are working on that," he said.

"It would be a feather in our cap because we get calls about it."

Maintenance issues in general will be ongoing through the season as well. But in the meantime, he hopes the spring walk will attract more folks to discover the wonders of the area. 

"Over the past seven months, we have averaged about 1,100 people per month," he said, noting there is a counter installed at the entrance to the area which helps the foundation track how many are exploring the site.

"It's an easily accessible area for anyone from Lacombe or Ponoka and beyond. A lot of people who visit for the first time don't realize how big it is, or just how many trails of various lengths that we do have," he said. 

Looking ahead, another walk is planned for the fall.

For more information, visit

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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