Prince Albert National Park of Canada
Kingsmere Lake is one of the largest lakes in a Canadian national park.© Parks Canada/Merv Syroteuk/PANP G2244
On a trip through southern Saskatchewan to the park, the landscape gradually exchanges poplar bluffs and grain fields for forests of aspen and evergreens. Roadways based upon right angles and parallels give way to routes winding through gentle hills, skirting spruce bogs and hugging lake shores.
The unmistakable blending of scents from the forest and across the open water fill your head. You've ventured into the southern edge of the great northern forest and the 3,875 sq. km of Prince Albert National Park.
Here, nature's vast web of the living and non-living interact to create what is variously called the 'northern coniferous forest' or 'boreal forest'. In the southern portion of the park, remnant patches of fescue grasslands occur in the dryer locations.
Water bodies comprise almost 30% of the area of the park from huge expanses of water like lakes Kingsmere and Crean to the tiny marshes, bogs and creeks that dot the landscape.
The topography of the park owes its origin to the glaciers. The landscape is a mosaic of uplands and lowlands that range in altitude between 488 meters (1,600 ft.) and 732 metres (2,400 ft.) above sea level.
The park protects a small slice of the boreal ecosystem (technically the southern boreal plains and plateau) and within its 'neighbourhood' functions as a benchmark of ecological integrity.
The black bear is the only type of bruin found in the park. Their colour ranges from black, through brown to reddish and rarely, tan.© Parks Canada/Merv Syroteuk/PANP C913
The park is the tenth largest national park in Canada. It is the largest protected wilderness area in Saskatchewan, approximately 0.6% of the area of the province.
Significant natural heritage features include the following:
- One of the few free-roaming herds of plains bison make their home in the southwest corner of the park
- The second largest colony of white pelicans in Canada, 15,000 at last estimate, is found on Lavallée Lake
- Typical wildlife residents include lynx, timber wolf, woodland caribou, elk, moose, black bear and over 200 species of birds.