The natural prairie biome is bustling with life, and the beauty is hard to miss amongst the wide open plains.
I was given the opportunity to make the trek south from Swift Current to the west block of the Grasslands National Park. It is one of only two national parks in Saskatchewan, and the only national park representing the prairie grasslands natural region.
Before reaching the park, I made sure to stop in at the visitor's centre in Val Marie, which contained a great deal of information on the park, a couple of interesting exhibits, and an interpreter who helped me navigate the area.
Once I reached the park, I began the very popular self-guided driving tour, which brought me to seven different stops, which really allowed me to take in the area's breath-taking scenery. I was particularly taken by the rich history which the land had seen, and the remains of settlements over a century old. The indigenous presence in the park is still visible to this day, with multiple tipi rings that can be spotted on the tour. The homestead of Walt Larson remains, as well as some corrals belonging to the 76 Ranch, built in 1887.
The flora and fauna of the prairies was another highlight of the trip, as I was able to meet some very interesting creatures, as well as inspect some rather rare plant life. Upon entering the park, I was immediately greeted by many gophers and prairie dogs. As a rancher at heart, I was naturally a little unnerved by the extent of their presence, but this is one of few places where they are not the enemy. I was also able to encounter a beautiful pronghorn antelope, as well as a rather lonely bison.
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