2010 Grasslands National Park of Canada Management Plan
A park management plan is the key reference document that guides Parks Canada decisions and actions in protecting, managing and operating a national park.
Parks Canada is responsible for administering a world-renowned system of national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas. Parks Canada's goal is to ensure that Canadians have a strong sense of connection through meaningful experiences to these protected places and that these places are enjoyed in ways that leave them unimpaired for present and future generations. This management plan provides strategic direction for achieving that goal for Grasslands National Park of Canada. This national park was established in the 1980s to conserve, protect and present to Canadians a portion of this country's mixed-grass prairie. The management plan was developed with staff, stakeholder and public involvement. It will be the primary reference document for decision-making and accountability in Parks Canada management of the park.
This management plan builds on the successful implementation of the park's 2002 management plan, as reported in the 2007 Grasslands National Parks of Canada State of the Park Report. It integrates the three elements of the Parks Canada's mandate -- the protection of heritage resources, the facilitation of visitor experiences and the provision of public outreach education -- into a new park vision, four key strategies and three area management approaches. The management plan also provides direction for partnering, public engagement and environmental stewardship as well as information on park zoning. More than twenty objectives and one hundred twenty five actions in this management plan are designed to improve and monitor the state of Grasslands National Park, achieve the park vision and contribute to Parks Canada corporate performance expectations.
The following summarizes the four key strategies of the management plan. These strategies address the needs and opportunities of the park and focus efforts and resources towards achieving the park vision.
Providing the Grasslands Experience
Visitor experience opportunities centre on the enjoyment of being in a special place -- Grasslands National Park. A visit to the park and region -- with its scenic vistas of prairie, valleys and badlands, wildlife and plants, endangered species, Aboriginal and ranching heritage, and dark night skies can offer a life-changing experience. People will come to the park to witness these for many reasons - to explore, recreate, learn, and/or relax. Through this strategy, which is founded on knowing more about the park's current and potential visiting public and providing for their interests and needs, people will feel welcomed, oriented and informed. As a result, they will feel very positive about visiting this unique and unfamiliar landscape.
Grasslands Restored – The Prairie Persists
Sites and events that were once familiar on the prairie, like grazing herds of bison, prairie wildfires, soil erosion and flooding, were some of the strongest influences on the ecological health and character of the prairies. In this strategy, active management projects to imitate some of these natural disturbances and to remove invasive species, will come together with public outreach education and opportunities for visitor experiences. The ecological integrity of Grasslands National Park will be maintained and restored to a state in which active management can be minimized. Restoration adjacent to trails, roads and campgrounds will connect visitors to this special place as they witness and learn about a healthy and diverse grasslands.
History Abounds: Recognizing Grasslands' Cultural and Palaeontological Heritage
The stories of many traditions are evident in historic places, such as tipi rings and the remains of old homesteads and ranch yards. Through these places and stories, Canadians will be able to discover and enjoy the rich cultural heritage of the park and understand how past stewardship of this distinctive landscape contributed to the creation of a grasslands park. The geological and palaeontological history of Grasslands National Park is one of fascinating landforms and fossils of terrestrial and marine ecosystems far different from the prairie of today. It is still an integral part of the park's heritage that strongly merits protection and presentation. This strategy for protecting and presenting the cultural and palaeontological resources in the park will involve the participation of Aboriginal and other partners, community interests and experts. Public education programs and park experience opportunities will be connected to these resources and their care.
Grasslands Conservation Partnering
Some endangered grasslands species will once again thrive in Grasslands National Park, but not without the willing cooperation of neighbours and other partners. This strategy incorporates cooperation with government agencies, landowners and managers, non-government organizations and researchers to achieve grasslands conservation. Public outreach education programs and varied park experience opportunities, such as the citizen scientist program, will engage Canadians in advancing these trans-boundary conservation activities.
To support the key strategies, the management plan includes three area management approaches: one for the Frenchman River Valley Ecotour Road and the 70 Mile Butte and Two Trees Trails; one for the McGowan Ranch Yard, Zahursky Point Trail and Dawson Viewpoints; and one for the Biodiversity and Grazing Management Area.
This management plan includes targets that will be used to measure and report progress in achieving the objectives and ultimately the vision. In accordance with the Canada National Parks Act, this plan and its implementation will be formally reviewed five years after its tabling to ensure that it remains relevant and effective for the management of Grasslands National Park.
In an effort to make this information available to you in a timely manner, this plan is currently only available in PDF format. Should you require a printed or CD copy please contact Grasslands National Park of Canada at: P.O. Box 150, Val Marie, Saskatchewan S0N 2T0
2010 Grasslands National Park of Canada Management Plan (PDF 1.18 MB)