Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve
|Just northwest of the Town of Swan Hills lies the Goose Mountain Ecological Reserve - home to 16 plant species rare to the province of Alberta, including orchids (see table below)
The reason for this pocket of rare flora has to do with Swan Hills' elevation. Being the highest point in the province at 1180m above sea level allows for the development of a sub-alpine ecosystem not found anywhere else on the prairies.
As an ecological reserve, the 5,780 hectare area is protected from motor vehicle traffic, sample gathering expeditions and any other activity that would disturb the plant life. However, it is open to hikers, photographers and those who enjoy a non-intrusive and non-destructive natural experience.
The Goose Tower Road is a privately owned oilfield road that is subject to weather. The main soil base is clay shale with moisture quickly turns in to a greasy mud. It is recommended that if you plan on visiting the Reserve; use a four wheel-drive vehicle, monitor the weather, and ensure that some one knows your plans. The weather changes quickly and drastically in this area and the roads quickly become impassable.