Grey Owl’s Cabin. Photo courtesy PA National park website.

Parks Canada has begun reviewing the management plan for Prince Albert National Park.

The plan is assessed every 10 years to ensure key strategies are being met in areas such as conservation, outreach and promotion and enhancing visitor experience. The Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act requires each national park and historic site to have a management plan to help shape the future direction of the park.

The overall vision of the plan is to build on five key strategies, which include connecting with Indigenous people. Park Superintendent David Britton says it is important to engage with Aboriginal and Metis groups as they have a lot of traditional knowledge of the area.

“It helps with the management of the Sturgeon River plains bison herd, within acceptable population parameters, and how he might get there is working with communities and drawing on their traditional knowledge,” he added.

At least thirteen Indigenous groups have ties with the Prince Albert National Park, and Parks Canada is hoping to strengthen the relationship with those groups.

Britton says there are a number of stakeholder groups involved in the drafting the plan, from community groups within the town site of Waskesiu, tourism organizations outside of the park and neighboring municipalities.

He says the overall goal is to have a working document that helps in the conservation of all areas of the park, whether it is the grasslands in the south or lakes and streams that have healthy fish habitat or diversity in bird populations in the forest.

Britton calls the plan a working toolkit for the future of the national park, which is often called “Saskatchewan’s playground” for its mix of commercial and recreation services for park visitors.

The park has posted the draft management plan on its national park website and Britton invites all interested stakeholders to provide feedback and input on the plan. He says the consultation period will last for the next six weeks.