River & Lake Life

Garner Lake, Smoky Lake County

Lake Life 

Smoky Lake County is home to a host of lakes and lake communities at which to live, recreate, visit, and enjoy! It's important that we respect these sensitive lake environments so that we can continue to enjoy them into the future!

We encourage all visitors and residents to enjoy Smoky Lake County's natural beauty responsibly. Reducing the impact that we have on our environment helps ensure that it will still be available to enjoy for years to come.

For more information on these principles visit "Leave No Trace"

Lakes have intrinsic value and contribute many natural functions within the larger ecosystem. They also provide ecological goods and services that benefit humans, such as water storage, flow attenuation and floodwater retention, water infiltration, groundwater recharge and discharge, aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and nutrient cycling.  - Source: Alberta Water Council 

Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels can be spread from one body of water to another on your boat or gear, if they are not cleaned, drained, and dried properly between uses. They are two of many aquatic invasive species in Alberta.

In fact, adult mussels can attach themselves onto hard surfaces and can be hard to spot on a watercraft and microscopic forms of the mussels can survive in standing water for many days. If this standing water is moved into a new body of water, it may become infested as well.

Whirling Disease

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) has initiated the Whirling Disease Program to help protect the province’s Salmonid Species.

Whirling Disease infects several Salmonid species and have been detected in 4 major Alberta watersheds. It is one of the greatest threats destroying aquatic species in Southern Alberta and has been detected in the Bow River, North Saskatchewan River, Oldman River, and Red Deer River.

Awareness of its presence will help prevent it from spreading to northern Alberta.


At the lake – Inspect and clean all watercraft, trailers, and gear after each day on the lake. Remove all sand, mud, water, and plant traces before leaving the shoreline.

Away from the lake – Rinse, scrub, or pressure wash your boat on dry land away from storm sewers, ditches, or waterways. Do not use a local car wash. You may unknowingly be introducing invasive species into local bodies of water if the water from the car wash is released into the environment.


Before leaving for home drain all water from internal compartments such as ballasts, bilges, and live wells. Bait buckets, coolers, life jackets, and other gear may also retain water.

Raise and lower outboard engines several times to ensure all water has drained out. Non-motorized watercraft can be inverted, or tilted, to allow water to drain.

Don’t forget to pull the plug! In Alberta, it’s illegal to transport your watercraft with the drain plug still in place. Watercraft Users must demonstrate upon inspection that their watercraft has been drained of all standing water.


After washing, dry the watercraft and gear completely between trips and allow the wet areas of your boat to air dry. Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.

Alberta Parks runs mandatory boat inspections during the summer months. To find out more about what to expect click: Watercraft Inspections

Information About Other Invasive Species:

For more information about living near lakes and environmental areas, visit:

Cows and Fish