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CPAWS welcomes addition to Grasslands National Park

CPAWS welcomes the announcement by Environment Minister, Peter Kent, that  111 sq km of prairie will be added to Grasslands National Park in southwest Saskatchewan.  This is an important step towards completing the land assembly for this park, and will join previously isolated parcels of park land together into one contiguous West Block. Adding the Dixon family ranchlands in the Frenchman River Valley area to the West Block of the park will add important native mixed prairie grasslands, and critical habitat for species at risk like sage grouse and black-tailed prairie dogs.

Lands for Grasslands National Park, have been incrementally added to the park since it was first established in 1988, as Parks Canada has been able to acquire ranchlands through willing seller-willing buyer arrangements.

Less than one quarter of Canada's original mixed grass prairie remains in its natural state.  Grasslands National Park is one of the largest and least disturbed protected pockets of native grassland in North America.  Over the past five years, Parks Canada has reintroduced bison and black-footed ferrets to the park as part of their efforts to restore its ecological integrity.

CPAWS is working to protect more of Canada's endangered grassland ecosystems.  Our efforts are currently focused on supporting a proposed new national park in the grasslands of the South Okanagan-Similkameen area of British Columbia , where a feasibility study for a national park has been underway since 2004.  This magnificent and threatened landscape includes habitat for 56 species at risk, and two of the four most endangered ecosystems in Canada. CPAWS is calling on the governments of British Columbia and Canada to move forward quickly to protect this region in a national park, in collaboration with local First Nations, before these important grasslands ecosystems are lost to development pressures.

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