Fri., Jun. 05 | Grasslands National Park, East Block. Ro

CANCELLED Grasslands National Park Field Trip

We've decided due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, we will be unable to offer this field trip.
Registration is Closed
CANCELLED Grasslands National Park Field Trip

Time & Location

Jun. 05, 2020, 10:00 a.m. – Jun. 08, 2020, 2:00 p.m.
Grasslands National Park, East Block. Ro, Fir Mountain, SK S0H 1P0, Canada

About the Event

Leaders Dale and Paule Hjertaas 306 529 3234

This is a camping trip to explore Grasslands National Park. The leaders have visited the park many times and will visit a number of favourite areas. We will be exploring the area by car and with some hikes.

Following is the tentative itinerary.

Friday June 5

  • Meet at Royal Saskatchewan Museum at 10:00 AM and depart. We will travel to the East Block of Grasslands National Park, stopping for lunch en route. Set up camp. Auto tour along parkway over looking Rock Creek Valley and badlands. Return to campground for supper. Evening walk for birds and wildflowers on the prairie.

Saturday June 6

  • An optional early morning nature walk on the prairie and along Rock Creek. We will see prairie birds like Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrows and many wildflowers.Group breakfast in the picnic shelter.
  • Nature walk to nearest buttes.
  • Travel to West Block of Grasslands Park. Weather permitting, we will follow back roads, entering the West Block from its east side. This road takes us through a lot of grassland and then a long the Frenchman River Valley We will make a number of stops to explore the landscape.
  • We will stop at Prairie Dog towns
  • Arrive at West Block campground. Set up camp. Have supper.
  • Evening walk across prairie, for those with any energy left. Watch for Common Nighthawks.

Sunday June 7

  • Optional early morning walk from the campground across the prairie
  • Breakfast
  • Auto Tour exploring West Block. We will stop at the Coral Exhibit, The Upper Prairie Dog Town, and the Two Trees Site as well as other sites.
  • Walk the 70 Mile Butte Trail. This a is a very scenic trail with many wildflowers. There is a Golden Eagle nest visible from the trail, though not used every year. The trail is 5.4 kms in length with a fair bit of up and down. We spent 3 hours and 20 minutes on the trail last year, with many stops to take photographs. There is an option to do only half of the trail. If it is to strenuous for any participants, we will provide another option such as exploring and resting at the Two Trees Picnic Area.
  • Possibly have supper together at restaurant in Val Marie
  • Return to campground, tired but happy.

Monday June 8 

  • Travel to prairie dog town for a morning walk
  • Pack up and head homeward.

Because this is a multiday camping trip, it is quite different from our normal filed trips. Please note and follow the points below: 

  • Contact Dale Hjertaas (306 529 3234, in advance to tell him you are attending and so he can discuss the trip with you and what you will need.
  • This is a National Park. You will need a Park Pass.
  • This is a camping trip. Especially at the East Block, there is no other accommodation available.
  • At West bock, people could stay in Val Marie and commute out to join the group at the campground. However, you can rent an oTentik in the campground.
  • You are responsible for your accommodation. You need to reserve a campsite at both the East and West Blocks.
  • If you do not have camping equipment, Parks Canada has oTENTik’s available for rent. An oTENTik is an A-Frame with a canvas top. They sleep 5 to 6 people. The one I looked at in Grasslands included a deck, an indoor table and looked quite comfortable. A couple from France were staying in it and seemed very happy with it. Best to reserve these early.
  • Parks Canada also have tipis available for rent, but only at the East Bock and at Two Trees in the West Block, which is not close to the campground we will use. A tipi saves you carrying a tent, but you will need camping mats and sleeping bags, etc.
  • There is no water for trailers at the Frenchman Valley Campground. If you have a trailer you will want your water tanks full before you come.
  • The back roads we will follow are gravel and are not of grid road quality. If rain threatens, we will travel by highway. Talk to the leader if you have questions.
  • Meals are your own responsibility, so you need food and something to cook with. At both campgrounds the park picnic shelters have gas BBQ’s and gas burners available at no cost, so you could get along without a gas stove. There is a store in Val Marie, but it will probably be closed on Sunday, so your chances to stock up on food will be limited. It will be safest to plan your meals for the whole trip.
  • The leader will bring a pancake griddle and cook pancakes for breakfast on a least one morning.
  • On most field trips we encourage car pooling and you can arrive at the start and expect to get a ride with someone. Because this is a camping trip and people will have vehicles full of gear, any car pooling must be arranged in advance. The society encourages sharing vehicles, and groups could share a tent or an oTENTik, but make those arrangements in advance
  • Plan to bring clothing for a variety of weather. Evenings may be cool. Days may be hot. It could rain. It could be beautiful all the time. We don’t know before we leave, so bring the extra sweater and a raincoat.
  • Have good shoes for walking. Its easy to accidentally step on a cactus.
  • Bring water bottles, even on a short walk one can get thirsty.
  • Bring cameras, binoculars, sketch pads (For those with artistic talent), bird books, plant books and anything else you may need to appreciate and record the beauty you will experience.
Registration is Closed

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