Thanks to a large donation from one Saskatchewan company, Wanuskewin is one step closer to becoming a World Heritage Site.

On Tuesday morning at Wanuskewin, officials from the potash giant Mosaic announced a $500,000 donation towards the heritage site’s Thundering Ahead Campaign.

Over the past few years, Wanuskewin has embarked on an ambitious renewal process, with the hopes of one day receiving UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site.

The campaign will see, and is beginning to see, the expansion of the current facility, new exhibits, improved programming and the reintroduction of a small herd of plains bison to the area.

“I’d like to thank Mosaic for their leadership, their commitment to supporting their local community and their generosity,” said Thundering Ahead Co-Chair, Felix Thomas.

The bulk of the donation will be used toward a renewal of the trails at the heritage site. Officials have named this the Trail of Discovery.

“Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a living reminder of the Northern Plains Indigenous peoples’ sacred relationship with the land,” said Bruce Bodine, on behalf of Mosaic. “By funding the renewal of the trail system, we have the privilege of helping bring to life the tradition and stories of this sacred gathering place.”

(PHOTO: Construction underway at Wanuskewin. Photo by Joel Willick)

Officials from the heritage site say this latest donation from Mosaic is one of many generous donations that will help them meet their lofty goals. Wanuskewin CEO, Dana Soonias, has been shocked by the public support because he says they only began talking about a World Heritage Site designation seven years ago.

“With this latest donation, we are probably about 95 per cent there,” said Soonias when asked where this latest donation brings their fundraising goals. “We are getting closer all the time and this definitely helps us — this is huge for us.”

Soonias believes Wanuskewin is only a few years away from being able to fully present to the UN in hopes of the designation.

This process will be lengthy and vigorous, with several meetings and presentations, both at Wanuskewin and in Geneva, where the United Nations is located.

Wanuskewin is about 10 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

(PHOTO: Co-chair of the Thundering Ahead Campaign Felix Thomas, Wanuskewin Board Chair Candace Wassacase-Lafferty, Bruce Bodine, Senior VP with Mosaic and Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel, who also sits on Mosaic’s board. Photo by Joel Willick)