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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.

    • Introduction
    • Features
    • History
    • Archive
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    The Beehive area is distinctive and characterized by this mountain. AWA’s Beehive area of concern is located within the Livingstone-Porcupine Region in the Rocky Mountain Natural Region and was given status as a Natural Area in April 1987. PHOTO: © AWA FILE PHOTO

    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.

    Beehive (D. Lynx)


    • The forests in the Beehive are up to 1000 years old, with individual trees as old as 300 years. An old-growth forest is more than just a group of old trees. It is a complex system of interconnected species, including plants, mammals, birds, fish, insects, and micro-organisms. Old-growth forests are better defined by their features than by their age. These features include large trees, fallen trees, wood in various stages of decay, and a high diversity of species.
    • Old-growth forests are important for water conservation, carbon storage and fish and wildlife habitat. Some species that occur at the Beehive, such as pileated woodpecker and northern flying squirrel, depend on old-growth forest for their primary habitat.


    • The Beehive contains important habitat for grizzly and black bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and one of Alberta’s largest elk herds.
    • The Oldman River and its tributaries are among Alberta’s top trout fisheries.
    • The Beehive is home to a number of rare and sensitive species:
      • Grizzly Bear – May be at risk/Threatened
      • Canada Lynx – Sensitive
      • Peregrine Falcon – At risk/Threatened
      • Golden Eagle – Sensitive
      • Common Nighthawk – Sensitive
      • Pileated Woodpecker – Sensitive
      • Yellow Angelica – Rare
      • Lance-leaved Grape Fern – Rare
      • Rocky Mountain Willowherb – Rare
      • Blunt-fruited Sweet Cicely – Rare
    • 1987 Wildlife List


    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.

    July 2016

    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.

    October 1990

    Alberta Forestry, Lands and Wildlife publishes a management plan for the Beehive Natural Area.

    August 8, 2002

    Animals of the Beehive Natural Area

    AWA list of animals of the Beehive Natural Area wildlifelist.pdf

    Read more »

    August 1, 2002

    Beehive Natural Area Fact Sheet

    AWA Beehive Natural Area Fact Sheet 2002_BE_FS.pdf

    Read more »

A journey into the wilderness is the freest, cheapest, most nonprivileged of pleasures. Anyone with two legs and the price of a pair of army surplus combat boots may enter.
- Edward Abbey
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