Newsletter No. 1, June, 2019

Parks Canada is reviewing the management plan for Bar U Ranch National Historic Site (Bar U Ranch). Management plans are important documents that guide the future of Parks Canada heritage places. The Bar U Ranch management plan will set out a vision and strategic direction for the site, along with specific objectives over the next 10 years.

You are invited to share your views and opinions on the future of Bar U Ranch. Please take some time to review this summary of key challenges, opportunities and vision elements to be considered in the development of the draft management plan.

About the site

The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site was one of the founding corporate ranches established in southern Alberta. It operated as a large company from 1882 to 1950, and continued as a smaller entity under successive families until the headquarters site was purchased by Parks Canada in 1991. Indigenous people have played a significant role in the history of the ranch since its inception.

The Bar U Ranch was able to establish strategic relationships within shifting economic markets due to the size, knowledge and connection of its owners and managers. This enabled the ranch to be successful for many years.

Located in the foothills about an hour’s drive from Calgary, the National Historic Site presents a living, working ranch to visitors with many hands-on activities. Today, the visitor experience offer consists of a combination of personal and non-personal interpretation. In recent years, the living ranch program has benefited from increased livestock presence that includes Percheron horses, saddle horses, cattle, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. The living ranch program is the main form of personal interpretation at the site.

State of the site

In a recent State of the Site Assessment, indicators for cultural resources, external relations, Indigenous relations, visitor experience and built assets were reviewed, analyzed and assessed. The state of the site is rated as “fair” to “good”.

Parks Canada has identified the following challenges, opportunities, and vision elements to be considered during the development of the draft management plan.

Key challenges and opportunities

The Bar U Ranch is evaluating key challenges and opportunities in the areas of long-term infrastructure sustainability, artifact management, adapting to extreme weather events, strengthening Indigenous relations and regional development. If you would like to know more about these challenges and opportunities, please contact us at

Creating a shared vision

The management plan will contain a vision for the future of the site over the next 10 years. We invite your comments on proposed elements of that vision:

In 10 years, the Bar U Ranch can be:

  • A continuing symbol of authenticity in the ranching industry through storytelling about its inhabitants, history, archaeology and landscapes.
  • A place for new and revitalized partnerships with Indigenous communities, local ranchers, educators and community that foster learning about ranching in Canada.
  • A National Historic Site that demonstrates excellence in land stewardship, animal husbandry, ranching and historic presentation.
  • A vibrant year-round (or close to) operation that connects diverse audiences to the story of ranching in Canada.

We want to hear from you!

These vision elements are initial guides to planning and are not intended to be comprehensive or final. There is lots of time for you to offer your perspective on any of these elements.

Please take time to review the proposed challenges, opportunities and vision elements and let us know your opinions. You can share your opinion in two ways:

Management plan schedule

Newsletter - summer 2019
Indigenous and stakeholder site visits/meetings - summer 2019
Draft plan development - fall 2019
Draft plan consultation - winter/spring 2020
Final plan - winter 2020/2021