The only time I've visited Grasslands National Park was when I was attending the University of Regina. As a class, we traveled to the East Block of the park as part of an outdoor education course (EOE 414). We set up our base camp at McGowan's Former Ranch Site and then spent a good deal of time exploring a small chunk of the park, basically anything east of Rock Creek. It is kind of embarrassing to admit, but it honestly took me moving away from Saskatchewan to Alberta to really appreciate the true beauty of the prairies. I was born and raised in Regina, so growing up surrounded by fields and farmland, it was easy to develop the opinion that Saskatchewan is flat and boring. Having now lived in Calgary since late 2006, and being less than an hour's drive from the mountains, I have a new appreciation for the Land of Living Skies; one that, regrettably, was absent while I actually lived there. I now look forward to returning to my home province and actively seek out new adventures there. You will read future posts on this blog about some of those adventures, but I guess what I am trying to get at is I need to return to Grasslands National Park so I can experience all it has to offer with a true appreciation of its existence. Before getting to a few photos of Grasslands National Park I leave you with a quote from renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, from his book A Sand County Almanac. The outdoor education course was based around Leopold's book and I remember reading it often throughout that semester.
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
|A section of map showing McGowan's Ranch where we camped and the badlands we explored|
|McGowan's Former Ranch Site & our base camp for the next few days|
|Grasslands National Park|
|Endless short-grass prairie|
|A creek flowing close to McGowan's Ranch|
|Joe Milligan - our professor and our guide|
|Exploring the badlands of Grasslands National Park|
|Far from flat!|
|Interesting rock formations|
|Our final destination before heading back to camp|
|Great view from the top|
|We discovered an arrowhead that would have been used by the Plains Indians for hunting bison|
|The EOE 414 Class|