Moonshine Lake From the Signal

From the Signal of May 21, 1991

Submitted by Wilma Bird

Moonshine Lake


Moonshine Lake Provincial Park is located 29 kilometres west of Spirit River on Highway 49, and six kilometers north, which good signage. It contains a man-made lake situated in some of the most beautiful timber in the area.

There are one hundred and ten treed campsites with tables and barbecue pits, as well as two cooking shelters.  The Park provides piped-in water for campers, wood supplies and toilet facilities, as well as bathing changing rooms. At the southern end of the Park, in a somewhat secluded spot, is a group-use area with more kitchens, barbecue pits and washrooms. Other amenities include horseshoe pits and horseshoes, grassed volleyball courts with nets and balls, children’s playground equipment such as swings, teeter totters and merry-go-round, plus the most scenic softball diamond in the country.

In the winter an outdoor skating rink is maintained with a shelter and fire pit close by. There are also numerous groomed cross-country ski trails that wind around the lake. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, some of which have attained a size of four to five pounds over the years.

The Park is located on the old Moonshine Trail, so called because of the vocation of some of the settlers along its course.

Homesteaders left Spirit River and proceeded along a cleared and raised railroad grade which had been proposed to reach Pouce Coupe in B.C. The railway itself never materialized but the grade served many, with the trail to this area heading off the grade to the north. The story goes, that a couple of World War l veterans with sleighs well-laden with brew were puling up the steep incline of the northern edge of a pot hole when the product was tipped out and ran down into a pond, thereafter designated as “Moonshine Lake”. Vestiges of this old trail may still be found straight north of the dam.

The Park became more than a figment of the imagination in 1957, when several local residents recognized the beauty of the area and formed an Association for the promotion of the lake. Many fund-raising methods were used including tickets that were sold for $2 each to interested (or even disinterested) individuals. With these funds and local machinery, the topsoil was pushed into two ‘islands’ at the east end of the lake and the outline of the lake itself was established. The ball diamond was also cleared and the Park was underway.

The ‘Moonshine Lake Athletic Association’ was formed to create and maintain the Park which was a unifying force of people from a very large area. The Association built a concession booth facing the lake which was operated by ladies from the district, with each community sending a deputation for each summer Sunday and many weekday evenings. A ball league was formed with teams from Silver Valley (Schooners), Fourth Creek (Flyers), Blueberry (Bombers), Spirit River (Chargers) and Rycroft (Hotelers) which drew large crowds of people, who also enjoyed the motor boats and water-skiing, then allowed on the lake.

Moonshine Lake Provincial Park was established in 1959 after due representation to provincial authorities. Provincial funds were used to build a damn on the east side of the lake, raising its area from 35 to 80 acres. The Department of Highways also completed building the four miles of road to the park, from Highway 49. Park rangers and staff have continued development with under brushing, boat launching docks, fish planting, etc. By 1967 residences and shops were being built and water and sewer systems installed. The Park area was increased considerably and a master planning program undertaken.

Today, Moonshine Lake Provincial Park has a year-round Park Ranger and is enjoyed by local residents and tourists alike.



Thank You To The Central Peace Signal

 IMage of Central Peace Signal logo

The Central Peace Signal has been publishing since 1977, covering northern Alberta’s Central Peace region. They have kindly agreed to share stories about the areas of the County from their archives.