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Elk Island National Park

What's New

Spring is in the air!

Spring brings the warm weather and the baby animals, like this “little red” baby bison, to Elk Island National Park.
© Parks Canada

Coming Soon – oTENTiks

A family discovers the joy of camping in a Parks Canada oTENTik
© Parks Canada

Five oTENTik structures have been installed in the Astotin Lake Campground. A cross between a tent and a rustic cabin, this type of accommodation is the perfect way for families, friends and couples of all ages to discover the joys of camping without all the muss and fuss.

While the tents themselves are up, there are many features left to complete. From deck railings to screened tents and everything in between, the details are fundamental to making the oTENTik experience memorable. Right down to the BBQ utensils, Elk Island National Park is committed to making oTENTiks an ideal place for families and friends to enjoy the outdoors without all the fuss.

Expected to be completed later this summer, oTENTiks will be available to book on short-term rental through the visitor centre. Check back in July and follow us on Twitter for booking updates!

Tel: 780- 922-5790

Construction at Elk Island National Park

The Elk Island fence is key to ensuring that the bison herds remain safe and disease free.
© Parks Canada

To ensure visitors have the best experiences connecting with nature and our history, Parks Canada is renewing structures like trails, fences and parkways in our treasured places across the country.

Over the summer at Elk Island National Park, there will be rotating closures to allow construction crews access to improve parking lots and trails. Work will be performed weekdays only. Please call the visitor centre before planning your visit or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Tel: 780- 922-5790

“Little Reds”

The little red bison calves are already running with the herd in Elk Island National park.
© Parks Canada

Spring is in the air! Stop by to catch a glimpse of newborn baby bison. You can't miss them, they're called little reds for a reason. When first born, bison calves are a reddish-orange colour. This lets them blend in with grasses and helps them evade predators. At eight weeks of age, a bison calf’s fur will change to the darker brown colour of the adults.

While getting a selfie with a bison is tempting, it's important to keep at least three bus lengths (100 metres) between you and the bison. In the spring, females of all species will defend their young if they feel threatened.

Pack a camera with a good zoom and you'll be able to capture the youngest additions to the Elk Island National Park herd frolicking through meadows and aspen parkland.

Bison on the move

Harry Barnes, chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council presents a traditional Pendleton blanket to Parks Canada.
© Parks Canada

In April, 87 plains bison calves made a historic voyage to their ancestral homeland in Montana. In providing plains bison to the Montana Blackfeet Nation Bison Reserve, Parks Canada is contributing to the global survival and well-being of an iconic and majestic animal. Indigenous Peoples play a role in conserving, restoring, and presenting natural and cultural heritage and Parks Canada is honoured to play a role in this special initiative.

The area these bison now call home is close to the rangeland their ancestors were originally captured, making it a symbolic homecoming. At the turn of the century, wild plains bison were at the brink of extinction following decades of market hunting for their hides and in order to clear the plains for agricultural development. Between 1907 and 1909, some of the last surviving bison were shipped to Alberta from Montana. The descendants of these bison can be seen in Elk Island today.

Periodically, bison must be transferred out of the park in order to ensure that the habitat is not over-grazed. This creates an opportunity for Elk Island National Park to provide bison to conservation projects both here in Canada, and internationally.

Beaver hills declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

The Beaver Hills is a unique landscape that brings people and nature together.
© Parks Canada 

Congratulations Beaver Hills Initiative on your UNESCO biosphere designation!

Escape the city lights and gaze upon the splendour of a starry night in the newly designated Beaver Hills Biosphere! The Beaver Hills was designated as a Biosphere Reserve on March 19, 2016 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This designation provides global recognition of the community’s commitment to conservation and sustainable development.

Parks Canada is proud to be part of the Beaver Hills Biosphere Reserve designation. This unique designation proclaims the biosphere’s universal value to humanity, and with Elk Island National Park as part of the core protected area, Parks Canada is committed to working with its partners to plan for conservation and sustainable development so these areas can be enjoyed by Canadians of today and tomorrow.