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Grasslands National Park

What's New

Fire is a primeval force that has influenced native grasslands across the Great Plains for thousands of years. On April 27th, 2013 a wild fire entered Grasslands National Park from adjacent agricultural lands. Fuelled by high wind and low humidity the fire burned over 16 km (10 mi.) in less than 4 hours. By the next day, the total area burned was over 4500 hectares (11,500 acres). Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire and damage to Park property was kept to a minimum.

In May and June 2013, the Park received above normal precipitation (approximately 230mm or 9 inches). This has resulted in a rapid re-growth of vegetation, giving the Park a lush green look.

The following photos show specific areas of the park the day after the fire and a couple of months later after the rain and subsequent grass regrowth.

Syrennes Day Use Area

Notice how the mowed area was undisturbed by the fire as it was greened-up prior to the fires passing.
© Parks Canada / April 28, 2013

The trees were relatively unaffected by the fire as they were not flushed out yet, which allowed them to leaf out in the spring/summer. As the photo shows the grasses have come back and are now more uniform across the landscape.
© Parks Canada / July 15, 2013

Looking Out From Belza Day Use Area

The fire burned along the Frenchman River in the adjacent fuels, staying on the tops of the banks.
© Parks Canada / April 28, 2013

After the precipitation recorded for the last few weeks there is no evidence that a fire had come through the area as the vegetation is lush and fully greened-up.
© Parks Canada / July 15, 2013

Frenchman Valley Campground

The constant mowing of the campground last year prevented the fires spread into the Frenchman River Valley Campground as evidenced in the picture above.
© Parks Canada / April 28, 2013

Again, after the precipitation that has fallen in the last couple weeks this photo shows the successful re-establishment of lush vegetation across the landscape.
© Parks Canada / July 14, 2013

Frenchman River Valley

Like most fires there is not a complete 100% removal of above ground vegetation, there are pockets of fuels that remain. The pockets above could have remained as a result of wetter areas preventing the fires spread.
© Parks Canada / April 28, 2013

No evidence that a fire has occurred in the photo above as the vegetation has re-established and is now of a uniform height throughout the valley.
© Parks Canada / July 15, 2013

Two Trees Area

This photograph shows the fires northern extent in the Two Trees Area.
© Parks Canada / April 28, 2013

With the precipitation the area has received to date, the re-growth of prairie vegetation has occurred. You’d have a tough time trying to see where the boundary of the fire is now.
© Parks Canada / July 15, 2013

Grand opening of Frenchman Valley Campground

posted on: August 21st, 2012

The new Coulee Centre cook shelter
©Parks Canada

Saturday, August 4th, 2012, marked the grand opening of the new Frenchman Valley Campground in Grasslands National Park. New campground and visitor facilities in Grasslands National Park provide exciting new opportunities for visitors to connect with the Park. The Frenchman Valley Campground features 20 tent and RV campsites (including four electrical sites) and four walk-in campsites (including two with tipi-style accommodations). All sites have fire pits and picnic tables, which have table tops made from recycled plastic.

New campground facilities include a cook shelter, an architecturally sensitive structure reflecting the character of place that will be a central location for visitor experience programming as well as providing emergency cover during inclement weather.

McGowan's Campground

posted on: July 11th, 2012

Rock Creek Campground Bridge & Summer Kitchen
©Parks Canada

Grasslands National Park has completed the new Rock Creek Campground Bridge and Summer Kitchen. With this new beautiful bridge built going across Rock Creek, visitors will now be able to safely access the park on the other side of the river. Be sure to check out the Red Buttes!

A cooking shelter has also been completed and is open to use. This new building allows campers to use camp stoves during the fire season.

Come and see it for yourself! More information on camping at Grasslands National Park can be found here.

October 2011 Ferret Release (with video)

posted on: November 18nd, 2011

Students releasing Black-footed Ferrets in Grasslands National Park
©Parks Canada

"Almost lost forever. The black-footed ferret is re-discovering the Canadian prairies. See the thrill of the Prairie Learning Centre students as they have a once in a lifetime experience assisting Parks Canada biologists in releasing these "prairie bandits" into Grasslands National Park."

Click here for more information and a video about the release!

Bison Update - 2011

posted on: September 13th, 2011

A newly born calf
© Johane Janelle

The Grassland National Park plains bison population came through the end of one of the most severe winters on record in excellent condition. Calving began with the first calf produced on 25 April 2011 (two days earlier than in 2010). By the time July arrived there were at least 60 calves produced. Otherwise the population has continued to thrive and to exceed expectations in population growth. The population may be fragmenting from one large maternal herd, to three sub-herds that form after the rut and prior to the onset of winter. This natural progression to smaller herds is an expected result of increasing population size, and will, eventually lead to bison occupying a larger area of the West Block. After the 2011 calving season the population is about 250 animals. The expected 2012 calf crop is estimated to be 76 calves, and this will bring the herd to about 326 bison by the fall of 2012.

With GPS technology, we can find the exact location of the bison! Stop by the Visitor Reception Centre in Val Marie to get an update on where they are. Check out our page on Bison Safety Information.

First Wild-Born Black-Footed Ferrets

Two Black-footed Ferrets
© Mike Lockhart/ US Fish and Wildlife

Government of Canada celebrates first wild-born black-footed ferrets in Grasslands National Park. Learn more.