Parks & Nature

Reclamation Sites

Visitors who wish to learn more about what happens after an oil sands mine is no longer in operation are invited to visit one of the reclamation sites north of Fort McMurray. These former truck and shovel oil sands mines operated by Suncor and Syncrude have been successfully reclaimed into natural areas once again.

What becomes of an oil sands mining area when the mining equipment has gone? They are reclaimed as natural areas featuring jack pine forests, grasslands and wetlands – and home to countless birds and wildlife, including a thriving herd of wood bison.

Crane Lake Nature Trails

Located approximately 30 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on Highway 63, the Crane Lake Nature Trails showcase the innovative reclamation efforts of Suncor Energy. This 19-hectare site is renowned for its bird watching and wildlife viewing, with a trail around the lake.

Bison Viewpoint

Introduced in 1993, Syncrude has reclaimed over 4,000 hectares of land as part of the Wood Bison Project. What began in partnership with Fort McKay with a small herd of 30 wood bison introduced onto reclaimed land has grown to a herd of over 300 animals living near the Syncrude Mildred Lake site.

Wood Bison Gateway & the Matcheetawin Trails

A massive stone sculpture of a wood bison herd marks the beginning of the Matcheetawin Discovery Trails (a Cree word meaning 'beginning place') and the Sagow Pematosowin Trail (Cree for 'living in peaceful co-existence with the land').

This four kilometre interpretive trail system sits on a 50-hectare site, and offers visitors the opportunity to see various types of reclaimed land—spruce/aspen forests, jack pine forests, grasslands and wetlands.

Giants of Mining

Along Highway 63’s Syncrude Loop and just past the Syncrude Mildred Lake facility sits the Giants of Mining - a can’t miss stop for those looking to learn more about the enormous machines that make working in the oil sands possible.

Here, you’ll find a decommissioned bucketwheel excavator and dragline shovel which were used by Syncrude in the early years of the company’s operations in the area. These machines must be seen to be believed! Signage around the site will teach you about the machines and the history of their use in the oil sands industry.

Places to view industry reclamation efforts