Three separate portions were mapped within the overall study area, and collectively they comprise about 2130 ha. The study area is located about 115 km southwest of Grande Prairie, or about 55 km northwest of Grande Cache; and is only about 4 km east of the Alberta-British Columbia boundary. The majority of the study area is covered by till. In the Sherman Meadows portion most is moderately fine textured, and very stony and gravelly; in the Deadhorse Meadows portion it is medium textured and gravelly. In the Kakwa Falls portion a thin veneer of medium textured very gravelly bouldery till overlies conglomerate or sandstone on the north side of the river; while on the south side the till is medium textured and gravelly. The floodplain of the Torrens River in the Sherman Meadows portion is comprised dominantly of medium to very coarse textured glaciofluvial sediments (gravel). Patches of thin Organic soil deposits are found throughout the study area. The climate of the study area is designated as highland, where the most important climatic effects of increased elevation are the decrease in air temperature and increased precipitation. The mean annual temperature at Grande Cache, about 55 km southeast of the study area, is 2.1° C. July is the warmest month of the year with a mean temperature of 13.8° C, and January is the coldest with a mean temperature of -12.3° C. The study area is situated in the east slope Rockies section of the subalpine forest region. This section is characterized by a coniferous forest consisting of the Engelmann spruce-white spruce hybrid complex, and an important associated species is the lodgepole pine.
Twenty-two map units were recognized in the study area. The key profile types are Brunisolic Gray Luvisols, Orthic Gray Luvisols, Gleyed Eutric Brunisols, Orthic Eutric Brunisols, Orthic Melanic Brunisols, Eluviated Dystric Brunisols, Eluviated Dystric Brunisols Lithic phase, Eluviated Eutric Brunisols, Brunisolic Gray Luvisols Lithic phase, Orthic Gray Luvisols Lithic phase, Eluviated Eutric Brunisols Lithic phase, Gleyed Gray Luvisols, Gleyed Melanic Brunisols, Terric and Typic Humisols, Terric Mesisols, Orthic Gleysols Peaty phase, Orthic Humic Gleysols Peaty phase, Orthic Regosols, Orthic Gleysols, Orthic Humic Gleysols, and Typic Humisols Lithic phase. These are distributed over the landscape in relation to landform, parent material, and drainage. Map units consist of single soil series or groupings of series (complexes), and their distribution is shown on the soil map. Soil interpretations of each map unit are made for primitive camping areas, fully serviced campgrounds, picnic areas, paths, trails, lawns and landscaping, buildings, septic tank absorption fields, trench type sanitary landfills, road location, source of roadfill, and source of sand or gravel.
Soils of Map Units 1,2 and 3; all widespread in the Sherman Meadows portion of the study area, have only moderate limitations for recreational development when found on suitable topography and where surface stoniness is not a limitation. Soils of Map Units 6, 7, and 17 also have only moderate limitations~~ while soils of most other map units have severe to very severe limitations. Map Unit 18 soils are widespread in the Deadhorse Meadows portion and on suitable topography have only moderate limitations for recreational development, except for severe limitations due to surface stoniness. The most common soils in the Kakwa Falls portion are those of Map Unit 15, but these have severe limitations for recreational development because of surface stoniness, and shallow depths to bedrock. Two small patches of Map Units 2 and 6 soils, with only moderate limitations, also occur. Map Unit 1 soils are well suited for road construction when found on suitable topography, and where surface stoniness is not a limitation. Map Units 2 and 3 soils have only moderate limitations; Map Units 6, 7, 17, and 15 soils have severe limitations; and Map Unit 18 soils have severe to very severe limitations. Soils of most other map units also have severe to very severe limitations. The soils of Map Units 1, 2, and 13; all found in the Sherman Meadows portion; can provide good sources of gravel. Careful study of the soil map and Tables 6 to 18 inclusive (soil limitation and suitability tables) will reveal areas suitable for particular uses.
A soil survey properly interpreted can be one of the most useful tools management has in making a proper design for a recreational area. However, all soil differences which occur in the field cannot be shown on the soil map. Thus for design and construction of specific recreational facilities, an on-site investigation is usually required.