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Friday, February 23, 2018

Saskatchewan Parks Mandate

The provincial parks system began with the establishment of six provincial parks in 1931, shortly after Saskatchewan assumed responsibility for natural resources.  Provincial parks were established for three purposes:  recreation, protection, and "social welfare".  The "social welfare" purpose was not stated in legislation or policy, but was referred to in Premier Anderson's speech on the opening of the chalet at Moose Mountain Provincial Park in 1932.  The other purposes were referenced in The Provincial Parks and Protected Areas Act, 1931, as follows:

  • recreation;
  • the propagation, protection and preservation therein of wild animal life and wild vegetation;
  • the protection and preservation therein of objects of geological, ethnological, historical or other scientific interest".

The mandate of the provincial parks system is defined in The Parks Act as:

  1. Park land is dedicated to the people of Saskatchewan and visitors to Saskatchewan for their enjoyment and education.
  2. The natural, prehistoric and historic resources of park land are to be maintained for the benefit of future generations.

Provincial Parks System

The provincial parks system has grown to be one of the best parks systems in Canada.  Vast natural areas, unique landscapes, scenic features, historic sites and access points to outdoor recreation are protected.  Each park or site provides an opportunity to experience a different part of Saskatchewan's heritage, including the solitude of a northern forest, the comforts of a modern resort, or the experience of walking in the steps of those who came before us.

There are 194 separate, legally designated park lands located throughout the province comprising 1.25 million hectares.  Different classifications under The Parks Act, 1986 outline different purposes for these lands.  These classifications and the number of park entities under each classification are as follows:

  • 4 wilderness parks: preserve expansive natural areas largely untouched by modern developments;
  • 11 natural environment parks: preserve and retain large areas of natural landscapes in a natural state while providing intensive recreational services in a small area of the park;
  • 11 recreation parks: protect and represent natural areas while emphasizing opportunities for recreational pursuits;
  • 17 historic parks sites: preserve and interpret sites and resources associated with provincially-significant historic events. The breadth of the early history of Saskatchewan is commemorated within these lands;
  • 24 protected areas: preserve exceptional natural and cultural features; and
  • 127 recreation sites: most ensure public access to water bodies and to natural features for recreational pursuits; some also conserve significant natural and cultural features.

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