AN ALBERTA PROVINCIAL NATURAL AREA                                        
Wagner Natural Area is approximately
1.6 km west of the junction of Yellowhead Highway 16 and Highway 44.Turn south on to Atim Road (Rge. Rd. 270), then east on to the service road. Follow the service road east to the gravel parking area and the entrance gate to the Natural Area.
Mailing address:
30531 - 118Ave.
Acheson,  Alberta  T7X 6M5 

  On the occasion of 

The International Day of Forests 21 March 2018, you are invited to visit our forest on the Wagner Natural Area at any time! 


We have a piece of Canada’s Boreal Forest right here in Parkland County. Residents of the county and the nearby communities of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, St. Albert, and Edmonton are encouraged to come experience this gem.


For more information on this special day, visit 

For a schedule of Wagner Natural Area upcoming spring events, please see our "Events"  page

WNAS will again have their display at the
41st Annual Orchid Society of Alberta Fair April 6-8, 2018 Moonflower Room, Enjoy Centre, 
101 Riel Drive, St. Albert, AB
See their website at:

Winter is still here - come and enjoy a walk in the Natural Area!

Download a copy of our winter brochure here

Wagner Friends:

The Marl Pond trail is now open. Downed trees and brush have been removed. Bug repellant is always recommended.

                     Pictures from the storm of May 24, 2017

                           (click on pictures for enlarged version)





Wagner Natural Society would like to thank our board members and Osborn Acres residents who contributed to our Gravel Shuffle
(read the story below) 

   Wagner Gravel Shuffle - D. Ealey

Visitors to Wagner Natural Area will have noticed this summer of 2016 the addition of a new topcoat of gravel for the Marl Pond Trail.
What you may not know is just what it took to get that gravel there! 

Planning: Over a three-year period, Board members, in particular Irl and Pat,
· took up the gauntlet to find a source of good quality gravel, 
· estimated the quantity needed for the trail, and 
· worked with Parks staff at Alberta Environment and Parks, in particular Trevor, to secure payment and transportation of the gravel supply (delivered on June 7). 

Spreading: Irl and a colleague arranged to get the gravel delivery deposited in two large piles at the ends of the Marl Pond Trail; then the hard work of spreading the gravel had to be done.
· Carolyn, one of Wagner’s members and an Osborne Acres resident, pulled off an amazing feat of persuasion and on the evening of June 7th led a remarkable team of Osborne Acres residents and neighbours, who, with a bobcat, wheelbarrows, shovels, and rakes, distributed about two-thirds of the gravel before nightfall!
· Thank you, Carolyn, Ron, Keith, Sheryl, and Harold for your hard work and your timely response to Wagner’s call for help.

Finishing: The spreading of gravel took a couple more day-trips by Dave and the two Als, but by mid-June the gravel shuffle was complete.

See attached photos showing some of the workers participating in the Wagner Gravel Shuffle. We hope you enjoy walking on the fortified trail!!

Completed and a Job Well Done!!!

Natural Areas are Alberta Government-owned and protected lands with a dual purpose: To allow some recreation but also to preserve aspects of the province's biological and physical diversity. Alberta's Natural Areas are not highly developed for recreational use because of the fragile nature of the property. Natural Areas are valuable for educational purposes, for research studies, and observation of a minimally-changing natural landscape.

In 1983, the Registered Charity, Wagner Natural Area Society, was accredited, and became the Volunteer Steward and Manager of the property under the provincial Stewards program, presently within the Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture department of the Alberta Government. The Society holds a recreational lease on the Natural Area and has a Water License covering the water that passes through and under the Natural Area and its surrounds.

Located between Edmonton and Spruce Grove, in the middle of fields and industrial development, Wagner Natural Area stands out as a microcosm of boreal forest. Its varied habitats include calcareous fens and marl ponds, willow swamps, drier coniferous and deciduous forests, creeks, and hay fields. These habitats, most particularly the fens, account for the rich diversity of plant life including several wild orchids, carnivorous plants, and mosses. Insects, amphibians, and birds are abundant, with larger mammals such as white-tailed deer and moose also inhabiting the area.

A special ecological feature of Wagner is its fens - areas of water-saturated peat existing because groundwater, carried through underground sands and gravels called aquifers, rises in the form of springs to the surface of the ground. The water then moves overland towards Big Lake, or accumulates in marl ponds.

Known to naturalists since the 1940's, the Natural Area was named for William Wagner, the owner of the property, who was instrumental in having the Alberta government give the original property of 320 acres (129.5 hectares) formal protection in 1975. Subsequent land purchases by the Alberta government and the Nature Conservancy of Canada have extended the protected area to 251 hectares (620 acres) covering a range of vegetation communities.

Because of the moisture content in much of the soil, it is advisable to have waterproof boots with you when visiting the Natural Area. In the spring and summer, it is also advisable to have insect repellent with you to fend off any mosquitoes who may find you. While there is no drinking water in the Natural Area, a Picnic Shelter and Outhouse is provided near the head of the Marl Pond Trail. Wagner Natural Area is not an off-leash area for dogs because of the fragile nature of the Area. Prohibited in the Natural Area are: Lighting Fires, Cutting Trees, Camping, Hunting. The Natural Area is a pedestrian-use only area.  There is no garbage removal from the Natural Area, so visitors are requested to pick up after their dogs, and to take all garbage away with them.

A 1.5 km self-guiding Marl Pond Trail  leads southwards from the main gate.


2017May 27 Bird Count
Check out our "Wildlife" page for pictures and count results

Wagner Display Wins Prize at 2017 Orchid ShowDave Ealey

 You’d think sitting at a table in a showroom full of (mostly) strangers for a weekend could be a ghastly experience. You’d be wrong.

On behalf of Wagner Society, I had such fun chatting with orchid lovers about how special our little natural area is. The Orchid Society of Alberta put on their big Orchid Show at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert on April 7 to 9 this year. I staffed the display table on Friday and Sunday, while Derek Johnson did the honours on Saturday. Derek summed it up nicely—the time passed quickly!

I expressed amazement to many who saw our display and said they had see the Wagner sign on the highway but never stopped—I told them they were missing a treat. To some who said they had been to Wagner many years ago, I told them we missed them! And to others who didn’t know we had more than half of the provincial wild orchids growing in our natural area, it was their turn to be amazed. 

Thanks to a display of colourful photos of wildlife, water and Wagner visitors, paired with an orchid-themed display (photo), I had lots to talk with people about. Maps of our water recharge area and graphs enabled me to explain the fascinating hydrogeology of our fens and the challenges we face on a daily basis to protect our water source.

What a thrill to find that our display was recognized by the Orchid Society as the Best Educational Exhibit for 2017! 

I certainly hope some of my new friends learned something about Wagner; I know I did as I tried to develop different stories to meet the different perspectives of the more than a hundred people I spoke with directly.


2017 May Species Bird Count Results and Pictures are available here


Montropa uniflora

To read more about Indian Pipes
 please click

          please click on this link: 

This video is courtesy of Andrew and Mike Hendry, shot with a quadcopter in August of 2014



Website is maintained by the Wagner Natural Area Society    
Updated Mar.21.2018