During the summer of 1972 the Research Council conducted an appraisal of gravel and sand resources within a radius of approximately 25 miles of Grande Prairie (see location map). The study was principally carried out in an attempt to define deposits of gravel and sand suitable for concrete batching. Local operators have especially expressed concern for the lack of coarse sands close by (minus 1/4" and 3/8" mesh sizes). Aggregates are presently obtained from pits as far away as Hines Creek (approximately 80 miles north of Grande Prairie) or by crushing of local quartzitic gravels. Haulage costs from distant pits are understandably high and local gravels prove to be expensive to crush because of the extra handling and washing costs as well as the excessive strength of the quartzite cobbles. In addition, the gravels presently being crushed near Grande Prairie contain high percentages of coal.
The Research Council implemented its program by contacting some of the local operators to clarify the problems being faced. Several days were spent on a reconnaissance road survey of the area, investigating and sampling natural exposures of gravel and sand as well as active and abandoned pits (major pit locations are given in enclosed figure). Subsequently, three weeks were spent drilling over 270 shallow holes in promising locations or in areas where the stratigraphy was uncertain.
During the field investigations reference was made to the following:
1. Existing published geological reports such as Henderson (1959) and Jones (1966).
2. Air photographs from the Department of Lands and Forests air photograph library (approximately 2 inches to 1 mile and 4 inches to 1 mile scales).
3. Topographic maps of the Surveys and Mapping Branch, Department of Mines and Technical Surveys (1 50,000 and 1:250,000 scale map sheets).
4. Provincial access series maps, Department of Lands and Forests (1 inch to 4 miles scale).
5. Forest cover series maps, Department of Lands and Forests (1 inch to 2 miles scale).
6. County of Grande Prairie No. 1 map, Peace River Regional Planning Commission and the County of Grande Prairie (1 inch to 6000' scale).
Access within the northern port of the area is generally good except in wooded upland areas where agriculture is a marginal proposition. South of the Wapiti River and in the southeast corner of the study area access is limited to forestry roads and adjoining trails. High water in rivers and creeks during the spring of 1972 was responsible for washing out a number of roads and bridges in the south thus presenting transportation problems throughout the summer months. As a result of the floods the bridge south of Grande Prairie affords the only means of crossing the Wapiti River and the bridge west of the city on Highway 34 is the only one crossing the Smoky River within the area.
The Proctor and Gamble Company of Canada Ltd. is presently constructing a major pulp wood haulage road south into the Big Mountain Creek area. This has not been indicated on figure 1.
Land ownership or the lease status of deposits are not discussed within this report. However, such details are available from the County of Grande Prairie offices in Grande Prairie in the case of much of the freehold property, and from the Department of Lands and Forests (Special Land Use Branch) for crown-owned land.
Two explanatory details are warranted at this point to best benefit the reader. First, figure 1 may be used as an overlay sheet for accompanying maps to better orientate the reader with respect to local transportation routes, land descriptions and drainage. Second, a list of definitions are given at the conclusion of the paper for the benefit of those not fully familiar with some of the terminology used.
Holter, M.E., Kathol, C.P. and Waterman, C. (1972): Gravel and sand resources of the Grande Prairie area; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Open File Report 1972-14, 43 p.