Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation Area Beach

Cochrane, Alberta

This beach is managed by Alberta Parks. All water quality testing is carried out by Alberta Health Services and follows the same guidelines as publicly monitored beaches in Alberta.

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Located on the Ghost Lake Reservoir near the Transalta Dam of the Bow River (originally built in 1929), the beach is rocky with chilly water that deepens very quickly in the what is an unmarked swimming area.

Ghost Lake, about 45 minutes from Calgary, and the beach location offer spectacular views and options for camping and boat rentals at Ghost Lake Recreation Inc. in the marina on the other side of the Bow Valley Trail, where the denuded campground is located. There is a boat launch and pier right beside the beach; be aware that water levels can change and the water is cold year round.

History:

The reservoir and dam are named for the Ghost River, which flows into the east end of the reservoir. It was designated "Dead Man River" on Palliser's map of 1860, but the name was changed to "Ghost" to recall tales of a ghost prowling up and down the river valley, picking up skulls of fallen Blackfoot Indians who had been killed in battle by Cree Indians (Holmgren and Holmgren 1976). In 1873, two dedicated Methodist ministers, the Reverend George McDougall and his son, the Reverend John McDougall, set up a mission across the river from the present site of the locality of Morley to promote the cause of their church. At the same time, they brought the first cattle to the area and started the first ranch in the southern foothills. In 1874, the Hudson's Bay Company built a trading post on the hill above the mouth of the Ghost River to trade with the Indians drawn to the McDougalls' mission. A tireless crusader, George McDougall became lost in January 1876 in a blizzard near Nose Hill in Calgary and perished (MacGregor 1972). He was buried beside his church, which still stands on the north shore of Ghost Reservoir where the mountains to the west and the sweeping west wind can evoke the ghosts of the past to imaginative visitors.
In 1929, Calgary Power Ltd. leased reserve land from the Morley Indians to build the Ghost Dam across the Bow River just below the confluence of the Ghost River to create Ghost Reservoir (Snow 1977). A power transmission line was built from the Ghost power plant to Edmonton; for years, this line was the backbone of Alberta's electrical system (MacGregor 1972). Now, the main purpose of the reservoir is to provide power to Albertans during times of peak daily demand.
Despite limitations imposed by large water level fluctuations, cold water temperatures and wind, the reservoir is popular for power boating, windsurfing and sport fishing. There are no boating or fishing regulations specific to the reservoir, but the Ghost River and its tributaries are closed to angling from 1 November to 15 June and a bait ban is in effect in all flowing waters from 1 November to 15 August (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988; 1989). These regulations may change from year to year. In winter, the reservoir is popular for ice fishing and ice boating.
The best access to the reservoir is at Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area, previously known as Lakeside Park and Campground, which is just southwest of the bridge crossing the Ghost River (Fig. 2). Facilities include day-use services year-round and a summer campground with 51 sites, a day-use area, tap and pump water, sewage disposal facilities, a boat launch, a telephone and a gravel beach. The shoreline around most of the reservoir is gravel. The water is clear and algae are inconspicuous year-round.

WATER QUALITY
  • Passed water quality tests at least 95% of the time
  • Historical Status
  • Last confirmed by N. Sask. Riverkeeper on at
For water quality icon legend, click:   
CURRENT WEATHER
25°C
Clear and sunny
MONITORING FREQUENCY

Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation Area Beach is sampled from May 24th to September 1st

SOURCE INFORMATION

Alberta Health Services (AHS) monitors 46 freshwater beaches across the province. AHS monitors the province’s five zones: Calgary, Central, Edmonton, North, and South. Water samples are collected and processed by summer students hired by AHS each season.

AHS monitors public beaches from approximately June 1 (weather permitting) to September (around Labour Day weekend). Most sites are monitored on a weekly basis, though some sites are monitored less frequently.

Water quality testing done by AHS is based on standards outlined in the General Nuisance and Sanitation Regulation, under Alberta’s Public Health Act. AHS tests for fecal coliform and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

Faecal Contamination

Under the guidelines put forth by AHS, no person shall operate or permit the operation of a beach or constructed beach unless the water quality in the swimming or bathing area meets the following standards:

Two consecutive values at < /400 CFU/100 mL
AND
A geometric mean < /= 200 CFU/100 mL over a 30-day period

Where the water quality in swimming/bathing areas of a beach or constructed beach does not comply with these standards, an executive officer may erect a notice or require the owner or operator to erect a notice to the effect that the beach or constructed beach is unfit for swimming or bathing.

If a beach does not meet the standards, a Contaminated Water Health Advisory is issued. Signs are posted at the recreational site and an advisory is posted on the AHS website (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/1926.asp). They are also communicated through the Swim Guide app and website and sent out to all local-area media surrounding a lake, as well as tweeted by AHS. Health advisories are rescinded when the above standards are met.

Cyanobacteria

Recreational water bodies and associated recreational sites are monitored by AHS EHOs and Practicum students for cyanobacteria. AHS personnel completes visual inspections of the lakes and also collects water samples for lab testing. For more information on cyanobacteria, AHS has developed an FAQ: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/news/advisories/ne-pha-bga-faq-2015.pdf.

AHS issues Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Advisories when blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms are identified, as that presence can pose a risk to human health.
Advisories are posted online to www.albertahealthservices.ca/1926.asp. These advisories are sent out to local-area media surrounding a lake, tweeted by AHS and communicated through the Swim Guide app and website. When a bloom is identified, related signage is posted around the entire water body (public beaches, access points, campgrounds, etc). These advisories remain in place for the duration that the health risk persists.

Monitoring Status

A beach is marked Green when two consecutive single sample results are under 400 CFU/100 mL AND the geometric mean (average of 5 samples) is less than 200 CFU/100 mL over a 30-day period.

A beach is marked Red when two consecutive single sample results are equal to or above 400 CFU/100 mL AND the geometric mean (average of 5 samples) are equal to or greater than 200 CFU/100 mL over a 30-day period.

A beach is marked Grey if there is no current results or no available information.

WATER QUALITY GRAPH

Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation Area Beach

Cochrane, Alberta

WATER QUALITY
  • Passed water quality tests at least 95% of the time
  • Historical Status
  • Last confirmed by N. Sask. Riverkeeper on at
For water quality icon legend, click:   
CURRENT WEATHER
25°C
Clear and sunny

This beach is managed by Alberta Parks. All water quality testing is carried out by Alberta Health Services and follows the same guidelines as publicly monitored beaches in Alberta.

----------------------------

Located on the Ghost Lake Reservoir near the Transalta Dam of the Bow River (originally built in 1929), the beach is rocky with chilly water that deepens very quickly in the what is an unmarked swimming area.

Ghost Lake, about 45 minutes from Calgary, and the beach location offer spectacular views and options for camping and boat rentals at Ghost Lake Recreation Inc. in the marina on the other side of the Bow Valley Trail, where the denuded campground is located. There is a boat launch and pier right beside the beach; be aware that water levels can change and the water is cold year round.

History:

The reservoir and dam are named for the Ghost River, which flows into the east end of the reservoir. It was designated "Dead Man River" on Palliser's map of 1860, but the name was changed to "Ghost" to recall tales of a ghost prowling up and down the river valley, picking up skulls of fallen Blackfoot Indians who had been killed in battle by Cree Indians (Holmgren and Holmgren 1976). In 1873, two dedicated Methodist ministers, the Reverend George McDougall and his son, the Reverend John McDougall, set up a mission across the river from the present site of the locality of Morley to promote the cause of their church. At the same time, they brought the first cattle to the area and started the first ranch in the southern foothills. In 1874, the Hudson's Bay Company built a trading post on the hill above the mouth of the Ghost River to trade with the Indians drawn to the McDougalls' mission. A tireless crusader, George McDougall became lost in January 1876 in a blizzard near Nose Hill in Calgary and perished (MacGregor 1972). He was buried beside his church, which still stands on the north shore of Ghost Reservoir where the mountains to the west and the sweeping west wind can evoke the ghosts of the past to imaginative visitors.
In 1929, Calgary Power Ltd. leased reserve land from the Morley Indians to build the Ghost Dam across the Bow River just below the confluence of the Ghost River to create Ghost Reservoir (Snow 1977). A power transmission line was built from the Ghost power plant to Edmonton; for years, this line was the backbone of Alberta's electrical system (MacGregor 1972). Now, the main purpose of the reservoir is to provide power to Albertans during times of peak daily demand.
Despite limitations imposed by large water level fluctuations, cold water temperatures and wind, the reservoir is popular for power boating, windsurfing and sport fishing. There are no boating or fishing regulations specific to the reservoir, but the Ghost River and its tributaries are closed to angling from 1 November to 15 June and a bait ban is in effect in all flowing waters from 1 November to 15 August (Alta. For. Ld. Wild. 1988; 1989). These regulations may change from year to year. In winter, the reservoir is popular for ice fishing and ice boating.
The best access to the reservoir is at Ghost Reservoir Provincial Recreation Area, previously known as Lakeside Park and Campground, which is just southwest of the bridge crossing the Ghost River (Fig. 2). Facilities include day-use services year-round and a summer campground with 51 sites, a day-use area, tap and pump water, sewage disposal facilities, a boat launch, a telephone and a gravel beach. The shoreline around most of the reservoir is gravel. The water is clear and algae are inconspicuous year-round.

MONITORING FREQUENCY

Ghost Lake Provincial Recreation Area Beach is sampled from May 24th to September 1st

SOURCE INFORMATION

Alberta Health Services (AHS) monitors 46 freshwater beaches across the province. AHS monitors the province’s five zones: Calgary, Central, Edmonton, North, and South. Water samples are collected and processed by summer students hired by AHS each season.

AHS monitors public beaches from approximately June 1 (weather permitting) to September (around Labour Day weekend). Most sites are monitored on a weekly basis, though some sites are monitored less frequently.

Water quality testing done by AHS is based on standards outlined in the General Nuisance and Sanitation Regulation, under Alberta’s Public Health Act. AHS tests for fecal coliform and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

Faecal Contamination

Under the guidelines put forth by AHS, no person shall operate or permit the operation of a beach or constructed beach unless the water quality in the swimming or bathing area meets the following standards:

Two consecutive values at < /400 CFU/100 mL
AND
A geometric mean < /= 200 CFU/100 mL over a 30-day period

Where the water quality in swimming/bathing areas of a beach or constructed beach does not comply with these standards, an executive officer may erect a notice or require the owner or operator to erect a notice to the effect that the beach or constructed beach is unfit for swimming or bathing.

If a beach does not meet the standards, a Contaminated Water Health Advisory is issued. Signs are posted at the recreational site and an advisory is posted on the AHS website (http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/1926.asp). They are also communicated through the Swim Guide app and website and sent out to all local-area media surrounding a lake, as well as tweeted by AHS. Health advisories are rescinded when the above standards are met.

Cyanobacteria

Recreational water bodies and associated recreational sites are monitored by AHS EHOs and Practicum students for cyanobacteria. AHS personnel completes visual inspections of the lakes and also collects water samples for lab testing. For more information on cyanobacteria, AHS has developed an FAQ: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/news/advisories/ne-pha-bga-faq-2015.pdf.

AHS issues Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Advisories when blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms are identified, as that presence can pose a risk to human health.
Advisories are posted online to www.albertahealthservices.ca/1926.asp. These advisories are sent out to local-area media surrounding a lake, tweeted by AHS and communicated through the Swim Guide app and website. When a bloom is identified, related signage is posted around the entire water body (public beaches, access points, campgrounds, etc). These advisories remain in place for the duration that the health risk persists.

Monitoring Status

A beach is marked Green when two consecutive single sample results are under 400 CFU/100 mL AND the geometric mean (average of 5 samples) is less than 200 CFU/100 mL over a 30-day period.

A beach is marked Red when two consecutive single sample results are equal to or above 400 CFU/100 mL AND the geometric mean (average of 5 samples) are equal to or greater than 200 CFU/100 mL over a 30-day period.

A beach is marked Grey if there is no current results or no available information.

WATER QUALITY GRAPH



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