The excellent view from the prominence located on the southeastern side of the town prompted early settlers to call it “Picture Butte”.
In July of 1947 the butte for which the town was named was removed and used to dyke the shores of the Picture Butte Reservoir. The historic landmark, from which Indians sent their smoke signals in the old days, was removed.
By the time the project was completed the butte was leveled and what formerly was a dry knoll soon became the basis for future business development with in the Town.
What to see and where to see it
The lake is shallow with reed beds on the west shore, a privately-owned nesting area on the northwest shore for waders and a stony bank for fishing on the east shore.
Walking trails skirt the lake except along the east shore where the highway nears, as well as the private nesting area.
If you turn right after leaving the car park, you will walk along the retaining dam to the east shore where fishing is good – 10 pound pike are common. North of the irrigation outlet there is a marshy area with a shallow shore where waders join the ducks.
Turning left along the dam brings you to the west shore where reed beds join the grasslands and buffalo berry bushes, which were planted in the spring of 1992. This is blackbird country.
Walking north brings you to the main Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District canal where water rats (muskrats) abound. These water rats help to keep the canal weed-free and have been trapped there for years as a local industry.
North of the canal is a private area set aside for nesting. Follow the canal to where it enters the lake. A long split brings you out into the water from which the migratory flocks can be seen.
Over 200 White Pelicans, 500 Canada Geese and 300 American Coots have been counted here on one day, gathering for the fall migration. This is a major transit station.
Plan for the Future
This is planned as an active on going development, which will open the area for the public’s enjoyment and education, while preserving the habitats and the wildlife we come to see.
Phase One will concentrate on shelterbelt planning and trail marking. Phase Two will assign, observation platforms and an interpretive center. Phase Three will develop access along the east shore.
Since this is a new project, no formal records of wildlife sightings have been kept. We ask for the cooperation of every visitor.