TOTAL Human Footprint:
The Cold Lake Oil Sands Area (OSA), the smallest of Alberta’s three oil sands areas, covers 17,834 km2 (2.7%) in northeast Alberta. The region overlays a large bitumen deposit of the same name. Like the Peace River OSA, these deposits are located too deep underground to extract using surface mining and therefore can only be accessed using in situ technology. While energy development is common, agriculture is the predominant land use. Tourism and recreation are also important; this area has the province’s highest density of high-quality recreational lakes. The Cold Lake Air Weapons Range occupies the northern half of the landbase. Human footprint status and trend is summarized for the Cold Lake OSA.
As of 2016, human footprint occupied 41.81% of the Cold Lake OSA. Agriculture was the dominant human footprint, covering 34.40% of the region. Energy (2.59%), transportation (2.22%), and urban (1.71%) footprints each covered similar areas.
|Human Footprint Type||Area (km2)||Area (%)|
|Total Human Footprint||7,456||41.8|
|Human-created Water Bodies||16||0.1|
FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in the Cold Lake Oil Sands Area, circa 2016.