Medicine Lake Provincial Grazing Reserve

Established: 1959
Area: 16,471 acres (40,700.72 hectares)
Terrain: Knob and kettle
Vegetation: Aspen
Balsam poplar,
Region: Lower foothills natural subregion
Nearby municipalities: 12 km southwest of Winfield
Livestock management: Medicine Lake Grazing Reserve
Looks after livestock and maintains the developed pastures in good, productive condition
Maintains all fence lines, dugouts, corrals and the buildings located at the headquarters site.
Grazing season: Mid-May to mid-October
Cattle: 2,500 head of cattle
Wildlife and game: White-tailed and mule deer
Upland game
Recreational Activity: Trail riding
Snowmobile rallies
Cross-country skiing
Industrial activities: Oil and gas exploration

Development of the reserve was requested by the County of Ponoka in 1959. In 1967, a commitment was made to sheep producers that the pasture would be developed for sheep grazing. Over the years sheep flocks have declined and greater numbers of cattle have entered the reserve. Sheep last grazed the pasture in 1992.

This reserve is situated approximately 12 km southwest of Winfield. This 16,471 acre reserve is characterized by its knob and kettle topography. The 7,381 acres of improved pasture provide grazing for approximately 2,500 head of mature cattle.

The Medicine Lake Grazing Reserve is located within the lower foothills natural subregion. The dominant forest cover is aspen, balsam poplar, spruce, and pine on the upland areas. Soils are generally in the luvisolic order with brunisols occurring on the more rapidly drained sites.

The reserve has an active oil field with numerous existing wells sites located on the west and east sides of the reserve. New drilling continues to take place.

The tame pasture development, coupled with the oil and gas exploration, has left a very diversified landscape that favors wildlife. The reserve is a preferred area to hunt white-tailed and mule deer, elk and upland game birds such as sharptail and ruffed grouse. Trail riding, snowmobile rallies and cross-country skiing are also popular activities.

The association opted to take over the management of the livestock operation on April 1, 1997. They accepted the responsibility of maintaining the tame pastures, fences, dugouts, corral system and the buildings located at the headquarters site.

Provincial Grazing Reserves are popular recreational sites for the general public. Following is a list of conditions that need to be adhered to when recreating on the Medicine Lake Provincial Grazing Reserve:

Regulatory Conditions of Recreational Access

Under Sections 9(3) and 9(4) of the Recreational Access Regulation, recreational users must:

  • Not litter;
  • Have direct control of any animal brought onto the agricultural disposition land;
  • Not park vehicles so that they block an approach to land;
  • Not enter or use any building or improvement on the disposition;
  • Not cause any damage to the agricultural disposition land or the property of the disposition holder;
  • Leave gates and other property as they were found;
  • Comply with an applicable recreational management plan, if any; and
  • Comply with the restrictions, prohibitions, terms and conditions, if any, imposed by the Local Settlement Officer, or Director.

Specific Access Conditions for this Disposition:

  • LSO conditions – Foot access for recreational purposes is allowed during the grazing season (May 1 to October 31) only in pastures not occupied by livestock.
  • LSO conditions – No access is allowed to pastures where livestock are present.
  • LSO conditions – From November 1 to April 30, motorized vehicles are allowed on developed roads only.
  • LSO condition – Organized recreational groups must obtain a Letter of Authority from the Grazing Reserve office.

For more information, see:


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Updated: Sep 17, 2015