"Lake Wabamun" Wabamun Lake by Darby2

Wabamun Lake Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 11 photos

Coal and Recreation

Wabamun lake is a large shallow lake about 70 km west of Edmonton. Shallow, with a maximum depth of less than 50' it's a major recreation lake with a large provincial park and campground on the east end. Sporfishing for pike whitefish and perch, sailing and swimming are the chief activities here.

The lake also supplies cooling water for two large coal-fired powerplants, one at Wabamun, the other across the lake at Sundance. Recent concerns on the lake level and water quality still have to be addressed. While most of the lake freezes solid during the winter months, there is a zone around the warm water discharge that remains open even during the coldest weather. One hardy soul even waterskiied here when it was -26C!

The name Wabamun is Cree for "mirror"

Last summer there was a huge derailment on the CN line which runs adjacent to the lake. more than 30 tank cars derailed and dumped thousands of gallons of heavy bunker oil into the lake. One tank car also contained very toxic wood preservative. The cleanup is going to take many years and the recreational quality of the lake has been damaged.

Digging for coal

There are large open-pit coal mines around the lake. Several million tons of clean-burning low sulphur coal are mined each year by Trans-Alta Utilities and Luscar to provide power to Edmonton and much of northern Alberta.

These huge Marion 8050 draglines strip off the overburden to reach the coal seam about 20-50 feet below the surface. Thes draglines weigh more than 2500 tons and can scoop about 50 cubic meters in a bucket load. They work round the clock except for maintenance. The coal is stripped out by large front-end loaders and loaded onto very large belly-dump trucks, each carrying more than 150 tons.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Used to have a nice beach...until the train wreck
  • Last visit to Wabamun Lake: May 2006
  • Intro Updated Sep 16, 2007
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Comments (1)

  • Dec 8, 2003 at 6:34 PM

    I was just looking for pics of wabamun on Google and came across this... its cool... by the way thats the same digger thing's lights you can see across the lake at night... anyways ya if theres any more pics of Wab post them!!!

Darby2

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