5 July 2016

Prince Albert National Park

 A travel goal of ours is to visit National Parks

If you have the time, spend more of it at Prince Albert NP than we did ... you won't be disappointed.

We have been to a few National Parks in Costa Rica and Mexico and to several in the USA
We have also been to 23 of the 47 that have been established in Canada.


We recently spent three nights at Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan.


This region of Saskatchewan is not a heavily travelled tourist destination. Most vehicle license plates are from the province. Except for a Quebec plate, our rigs’ Ontario license was the only other ‘out of province’, one we saw; no USA plates and no other Canadian provinces. I would estimate that half of the RV’s we saw were; trucks towing travel trailers towing fishing boats. In general, camping in Saskatchewan focuses on boating, fishing and golfing. Most tourists would bypass this part of the province and travel the Trans-Canada or Yellowhead Highways heading west. That’s unfortunate, because if they were to venture a couple of hundred kilometres further north, Prince Albert NP has a lot to offer for wildlife viewing, scenery, some nice beaches, boating, fishing and golfing and to a lesser degree; canoeing, kayaking, Stand Up Paddling (SUP), cycling and hiking. The nicely situated town of Waskesui at the park’s South Gate has several restaurants, a nice beach area, many rental units, a couple of outdoor stores, several walking paths and the main Park Headquarters.

ENVIRONMENT
Prince Albert National Park represents the southern boreal forest region of Canada. It's a rolling, mostly forested landscape that takes in the drainage divide between the North Saskatchewan and Churchill Rivers.
 




The very southern part of the park is predominantly aspen forest with elderberry, honeysuckle, rose and other shrubs with openings and meadows of fescue grassland. The fescue grasslands are considered ecologically important because of their rarity.

A hike along the Spirit River Tower Trail.



The aspen forest/meadow in the southwest corner of the park sustains a growing herd of more than 400 plains bison, the only free-ranging herd in its original range in Canada.
Most of the park is dominated by coniferous forests, with the cover of jack pine and white spruce becoming more prevalent further north. Woodland caribou range sometimes into the park, but their core habitat lies outside the park to the north. White-tailed deer, elk and, locally, moose are the common ungulates. Wolves are fairly common.

Elk are often seen in the town of Waskesui, inside the Park ... sometimes they try to hide.








The park is noted for its numerous lakes including three very large ones - Waskesiu, Kingsmere and Crean. Northern pike, lake trout, walleye, suckers and lake whitefish are among the most common larger fish. 




One of Canada's largest white pelican colonies nests in an area closed to public use on Lavallee Lake in the northwest corner of the park, and pelicans, loons, mergansers, ospreys and bald eagles are common in summer. 



GREY OWL
One of the more notable residents of Prince Albert Park; Archibald Belaney was born an Englishman,  pretended to be a Canadian Ojibway Indian and became a noted environmentalist, author and naturalist.

“ ... In 1931, Belaney and Anahareo moved briefly (with their beavers) to a cabin in Riding Mountain National Park to find a sanctuary for them. Riding Mountain National Park was found to be an unsuitable habitat for the beavers, as a summer drought resulted in the lake water level sinking, and becoming stagnant. Both the beavers and Belaney were unhappy with the situation, causing Belaney to search, with the support of the Dominion Parks Branch, for better living conditions. The Parks Branch suggested Prince Albert National Park, situated 450 miles north-west of Riding Mountain National Park. Belaney and Anahareo found the park suitable for their needs as it was isolated, teeming with wildlife, heavily wooded, and Belaney had a favourable impression of the Superintendent of the Park, Major J.A. Wood. The greater sized waterway of Prince Albert National Park was found to be a more suitable beaver habitat, as the lake at Riding Mountain National Park had a risk of freezing to the bottom during winter ... “


Grey Owl is buried near his cabin 'Beaverlodge' at Ajawaan Lake along with 2 of his 4 wives; Shirley Dawn and Anahareo. The cabin is maintained by Park staff as a heritage site and can be hiked or paddled to.


 ~
'The Worlds' system of National Parks has been established to protect unique regions of flora and fauna. They provide outdoor enthusiasts with a wide variety of activities to pursue.'

Support our National Parks by visiting!

REFERENCES
1. The Parks Canada website for Prince Albert National Park is worth a read for planning.
2. Wikipedia has a detailed write-up.

Crusty ... Get Outside!


 

 






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