Holiday water report 2019
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HOLIDAY WATER 2019 - SASKATCHEWAN NATIONAL PARKS
By Suzanne Forcese
As WaterToday continues the trek across Canada we made a stop at Saskatchewan's two National Parks: Prince Albert National Park in the northern boreal forest, and Grasslands National Park in the rolling hills of the southwest. The two national parks are prefect examples of the province's varied landscape.
Prince Albert National Park
Two hundred kilometres north of Saskatoon where parkland meets forest, many outstanding natural wonders can be found in the 3,875 sq. km of Prince Albert National Park. A diverse collection of wildlife, including timber wolves, elk, bear, moose and 195 species of birds call the park home.
Bison that roam the southwest corner of Prince Albert National Park are descended from 50 individuals released in 1969 in the province's Lake Montreal Region as a food source for First Nations. At least 10 settled in the park forming the nucleus of what now is one of the world's few remaining free-ranging bisons.
July and August are the busiest months in the park but recreation is ample year round with excellent camping, golfing, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and cross country skiing, snow-shoeing, ice-skating in winter as well as winter camping. A year-round full service resort provides creature comforts.
Hit the beach or get on the water in the lakeside town of Waskeseiu with its 6 well-serviced beaches and lakeside recreation or portage between remote forest back country lakes.
The multi-day hike (20 km one way) to the historic cabin of turn of the century conservationist Archibald Stansfeld Belaney, better known as Grey Owl, follows the eastern shore of Kingsmere Lake through forest, bogs and meadows, passing through 3 backcountry campgrounds ending at a weathered but well preserved Beaver Lodge. Or you can canoe/kayak and portage your way there.
The uniquely accessible Bagwa Paddling Route gives visitors a chance to experience an iconic Canadian canoe trip. Launch up the Kingsmere River, portage on a rail bed past a one-kilometre set of rapids to windy Kingsmere Lake. The route then loops through a string of pristine backcountry bodies of water (Bagwa, Lily and Clare Lakes) with short portaging between. Fishing season is open. Note: No potable water is available on these backcountry areas.
Or try stepping out of your comfort zone by zipping through the Boreal forest 40 feet above the forest floor on 7 different ziplines.
Camp It or Glamp It. Front Country Camping is available in:
Camping in one of the 15 Backcountry Campgrounds provides the opportunity to enjoy all the wonders of the back country with a few simple comforts. WT spoke with Cole Storey of Parks Canada. "There is no potable water available in the back country sites. Please make sure you bring your own water or boil and filter any surface water."
- Beaver Glen (200 sites) with potable water, showers, toilets.
- Red Deer(161 sites) with electricity, water, sewer & potable water.
- The Narrows(85 sites) unserviced potable water
- Namekus Lake (21 sites) no potable water
- Sandy Lake (31 sites) no potable water
Glamping (glamorous camping) is available in the oTENTik experience, exclusive to Parks Canada. A spacious blend of tent and A-frame cabins equipped with beds and furniture on a raised floor awaits you in Beaver Glen Campground. There are 10 units available. Potable water and showers are nearby.
Sandy Lake Campground Renewal begins Sept 4, 2019. The campground day-use and boat launch are closed during that time.
Alcohol and cannabis restriction Beaver Glen, Red Deer, Narrows , Sandy lake & Namekus Lake Campgrounds Fri 8:00 am to Mon 6:00 pm on the following weekends: Jun 28-Jul1;Aug 2- Aug 5; Aug 30- Sept 2.
Grasslands National Park
Grasslands National Park is a more than 570 sq. km expanse of mixed prairie grasslands, where hiking and primitive camping are popular. Plains bison roam this vast range of untouched land. It is also home to endangered animals like the burrowing owl, pronged horn antelope and Canada's only colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs. The park which lies north of the state of Montana adjacent to the international boundary is also a designated Dark Sky Preserve (an area, usually surrounding a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution).
Experience the solitude of the wide-open plain as the prairie wind ripples a sea of grasses where adventures range from family-friendly interpretive walks to remote backcountry hikes for only the most experienced. Seasonal events include a guided wagon ride, lasso practice at a historic ranch or fireside chats with park interpreters.
Camping Front Country, there is access to potable water in small drinking jugs in Frenchman Valley Campground West. RV's must fill up tanks in advance.
Rock Creek has potable water.
If your journey takes you to Back Country Camping - plan for fire bans. Carry sufficient water. All surface water in the area is unfit for human consumption Treating water by boiling, filtering or adding iodine may remove some bacteria, but will not help with the salinity.
Equestrian Camping is available South of the Belza day use area. Potable water nearby.
Tipi camping! Tipi accommodations are located at the Two Trees Day Use Area South of Val Marie, Saskatchewan. There is no potable water available at the West Block Site. The East Block site has easy access to potable water.
Interested in camping but prefer the comfort of a bed and arriving to find camp set up? Parks Canada oTENTik tents in the Frenchman Valley(West Block) and Rock Creek (East Block campgrounds offer an easy and relaxing way to experience camping). Easy access to potable water and vault toilets.
Spend a day uncovering the secrets of ancient dinosaurs then get dancing under the stars at a country hoedown. The Badlands were the site of one of the first discoveries of dinosaur fossils in Canada and scientists today continue to unlock the mystery of a time when prehistoric creatures wandered the jungle on what is now the Canadian prairie. Join a crew of paleontologists from Royal Saskatchewan Museum and McGill University for 5 hours of finding fossils.
The following areas are closed to all household pets by order of the Superintendent.
Why: To prevent potential for disease transmission between domestic pets and wildlife.
Where: All Prairie Dog Towns located within Grasslands National Park
Until further notice
Park Officials remind everyone to check the Parks Canada website for up-to-date bulletins and water advisories.
And that is how it's done in Saskatchewan. Stay safe and enjoy!
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