August 8, 2002
The Beehive Natural Area offers a stunning mix of cool dark subalpine forests and broad alpine meadows against a dramatic backdrop of rugged rocks and scree.
Considered a living museum, the Beehive Natural Area area boasts more than 2000 acres of old-growth forest, with 300-year old trees.
The Beehive was protected as a Natural Area in April 1987.
Natural Areas protect special and sensitive natural landscapes of local and regional significance while providing opportunities for education, nature appreciation and low intensity recreation. The Beehive is located within AWA’s area of interest known as the Livingstone-Porcupine area. The Beehive is located in the Rocky Mountain Natural Region.
The Oldman River forms part of the South Saskatchewan River catchment. Its waters flow across southern Alberta and into Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Forests in the mountains and foothills play a crucial role in maintaining clean and abundant water supplies. Although the forests in the Beehive Natural Area are relatively well protected, forestry activity in the surrounding area has been extensive.
Threats to watersheds include forest fragmentation and road construction by the oil and gas and forestry industries, uncontrolled off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, and climate change.
The Great Divide Trail is an informal 1200 km hiking trail, running from Waterton National Park on the Canadian/U.S. border to Kakwa Lake, north of Mount Robson. It runs through the Beehive at treeline, and crosses the Oldman River at the northern boundary of the Natural Area. The Trail consists of an assortment of tracks, cut lines and roads.
A stewardship report from a July 26-28 trip documents the condition of the Beehive. The report indicates, “huge amounts of wetland destruction by 4-wheel drive off-road vehicles!” on the road toward Memory Lake. There is debris remaining from the 2013 or 2014 floods including camping units. A number of wildflowers and wildlife were noted, including pika, grizzly bear diggings, and tadpoles in Memory Lake.
There are also reports of cattle overgrazing in the Oldman River riparian area.
Alberta Forestry, Lands and Wildlife publishes a management plan for the Beehive Natural Area.