• Russell Roy

Still Virtually Untouched, Canada's Grasslands National Park

There are still some places where you can be alone, where you can see forever, and feel one with nature. The Grassland's National Park is such a place.

The park itself is somewhat fragmented and divided into two distinct areas called simply the East Block and West Block. You really need to visit both as they are very different from one another. The East Block highlights Saskatchewan's badlands while the West Block features the vast Frenchman River Valley basin and and rolling grasslands.

We visited the East Block first. We stayed in the o-TENT-iks in the park's only campground accessed from a gravel road on the east side. The accommodation was fine, but rustic. No showers were even possible and nothing buy a crude mattress was provided beyond the gas BBQ.

The highlights of the East Block were amazing panoramic views and the freedom to hike off trail wherever your heart desired. We estimate that we walked over 15km the first day.

Onto the West Block and the Frenchman River Valley. The meandering Frenchman River is in the bottom of a very wide valley bordered by high rolling hills.

As you walk along it is possible to find cultural features such as tipi rings and stone cairns on your own as there are thousands located within the park. One of the trails leads right through a tipi ring.

You would expect that this vast natural area would contain an abundance of wildlife and you would be correct. It is possible to see all kinds of rare animals and birds within, and around, the park. Below is just a sample of some of the more interesting wildlife we encountered.

A Night Hawk up close.

Canadian Prairie Bison were reintroduced to the park and are thriving. Don't get too close!

The only place in Canada where you can find Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. For reference, they are about three times as big as common gophers.

American Badger.

The rare and not so pretty Long-billed curlew.