Prince Albert National Park

Prince Albert National Park is situated 60 km north of Prince Albert near the geographic centre of Saskatchewan. Encompassing a region of 3,874 km2, it is Saskatchewan's largest protected area and Canada's tenth largest national park. Archeological evidence in the park suggests that Aboriginal cultures first migrated into the area more than 6,000 years ago. The park was officially opened by Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King on August 28, 1928. Straddling the northern boreal forest and aspen parkland ecozones, Prince Albert National Park captures a distinctive segment of Canada's natural habitat. Patches of fescue prairie and aspen parkland in the southern reaches of the park give way to mixed-wood and boreal forests in the north. The undulating terrain of uplands and lowlands (ranging in elevation from 488 to 732 metres above sea level) is the result of the great continental glaciers of the last Ice Age. The park is noted for its glacial topography of eskers, kettle lakes, drumlins, and rolling moraines. Roughly 30% of the park's area is aquatic habitat, consisting of thousands of lakes, streams, creeks, bogs, fens, and marshes. This diversity in terrestrial and aquatic habitat attracts an abundance of wildlife, such as black bear, elk, caribou, deer, moose, timber wolf, lynx, fox, coyote, hare, beaver, badger, otter, and over 200 species of birds. Prince Albert National Park is home to Canada's only fully protected white pelican nesting colony and to one of the few remaining free-roaming herds of plains bison. The park is also widely recognized as the former residence of the celebrated 1930s naturalist, Archibald Belaney (better known as Grey Owl). Grey Owl's remote log cabin sits on the isolated shores of Ajawaan Lake, where he kept vigil on his beloved park from 1931 to 1938. Prince Albert National Park draws 200,000 visitors annually for its natural beauty and for its recreational offerings, which include swimming, boating, canoeing, fishing, golf, hiking, and backcountry camping. The village of Waskesiu, on the south shore of Waskesiu Lake, is the only community within the park boundaries.

Iain Stewart

Further Reading

Environment Canada. 1986. Prince Albert National Park Resource Description and Analysis. Winnipeg: National Resource Conservation Section, Parks, Prairie and Northern Region; Waiser, W.A. 1989. Saskatchewan's Playground: A History of Prince Albert National Park. Saskatoon: Fifth House.