Caribou Mountains Introduction
The Caribou Mountains in northern Alberta form a low, saucer-shaped plateau that rises 600-700 m above the surrounding lowlands. Adjacent to the western side of Wood Buffalo National Park the Caribou Mountains have the highest elevations in northern Alberta, reaching a maximum of 1,030 m in the western part of the plateau. The area contains sensitive wetlands, unique permafrost features, rich breeding bird habitat, and core refugia for woodland caribou.
In 2001 as part of the Special Places program, Caribou Mountains Wildland Park (5,910 km2) was created. The largest provincial Wildland Park in the province, its fragile ecosystem contains sensitive wetlands and permafrost habitat.
The Park contains relatively undisturbed and lichen-rich forests, favoured habitat for woodland caribou. About 80 percent of the range of an important population of woodland caribou is contained within the Park, and about a third of Alberta’s population of this threatened species is dependent on the Park. A population of up to 120 wood bison, an endangered species, lives in the Wentzel Lake area in small groups of up to 15 animals.
- Caribou Mountains Wildland Park was established in 2001 by Order-in-Council 308/2001. At 5,910 km2 it is the largest provincial wildland park.
- A Management Plan has yet to be approved. A local committee has been charged with developing a management plan, but dissension over the status of the park has occurred within the committee.