Beauty and history surrounds Buffalo Pound Provincial Park

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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A group of kids gathered around to look at an old spear on Saturday.

After the talk was over, they scattered and took part in various activities in the humid afternoon at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. Some went to make pottery and others examined pieces of ceramics to reconstruct a shape.

Kids went to align rocks into various shapes and several went to participate in the bison hunt by throwing a spear at the bison cutout target.

“It sort of fosters an interest with the kids. They get to learn what it’s like to be an archaeologist and how people used things in their environment to survive, how they had to hunt for their food. They couldn’t just go to the grocery store,” said Loni Williams with the Saskatchewan Archeological Society (SAS) and a graduate student from the University of Saskatchewan.

The SAS, which focuses on education and conservation of archaeology, was at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park for two hours on Saturday for its ArchaeoCaravan tour. Artifacts such as arrowheads were on display as well as a number of free activities.

The SAS was there for Canada’s Parks Day to culminate Saskatchewan Parks Week.

Williams said they had never been to Buffalo Pound before, but have visited a number of parks such as Greenwater Provincial Park, Pike Lake Provincial Park and Duck Mountain Provincial Park. A few weeks before that, the society was in Mortlach and Morse. They have travelled over the southwestern part of the province.

“It’s just sort of an awareness to find a way to bring archaeology to the public sphere,” said Williams. “It’s for people who maybe don’t know a lot about it or don’t know a lot about how we research First Nations culture that stretches back 12,000 years.”

Kandra Forbes, a park interpreter, said while arranging for the SAS to do an event, she stumbled across something new.

“As we were booking them, we went through all of our office stuff and there are archaeological sites within the park and I didn’t know about it,” said Forbes. “There’s a bunch of teepee rings over by where the homestead is, just outside of the park grounds.”

She added parks day tends to fall on the same weekend every year. Other activities on Saturday included free cake, a fire starting workshop and a photography workshop that saw eight people from Regina and Moose Jaw come out.

“It went really well actually,” said Forbes. “They just loved it. They were all like, ‘we have to come back out here now.”

A lot of them had never been to the park before either, she said.

“Once people get out here they get really intrigued and then they’re more encouraged to come back out again because they realize how beautiful it is,” said Forbes.

“Especially when they get away from the campsites and the pool and actually go out and see some of the park,” added Caitlynn Beckett, another park interpreter. “It’s a pretty inexpensive way to spend a day.”

She said recognizing the importance of parks is something everyone should do.

“It’s just important to celebrate parks and to appreciate them. A lot of people don’t know how many there are or that they exist even,” said Beckett.

“And the bison. Everyone’s all excited. Not a lot of people have seen a lot of bison,” said Forbes. “They love going and checking out our bison range, especially a lot of new Canadians that come out here with their families.”

Parks week celebrated in Sask.

All of Saskatchewan’s 35 provincial parks celebrated Parks Week from July 13 to 19.

Activities included hiking, fishing, campfire cookouts, archaeology, astronomy, canoeing, hiking, rope making and teepee building.

Several parks marked big anniversary years this year. Narrow Hills is 80 years old, Lac La Ronge is 75 years old, Cypress Hills is 25 years old as an interprovincial park and Great Blue Heron has been a provincial park for one year now.

Canada’s Parks Day, which was on Saturday, has been celebrated for 25 years. This year’s focus was “connecting Canadians to nature,” according to a provincial government release.

Saskatchewan Provincial Parks also partnered with a number of organizations and individuals for visitors to enjoy. Some of those included Embrace Theatre, Saskatchewan Express and the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society.

Canoe Kayak Saskatchewan and Sask. Volleyball offered family programming, mini camps and tournaments in certain provincial parks.

The release said in 2013, the provincial parks had 3.7 million visits. In the 2014-15 budget, there is a 4.6 per cent increase in funding to provincial parks.

“Our provincial parks capture the beauty and spirit of Saskatchewan, through the gorgeous scenery and exciting activities they have available,” said Mark Dochery, minister of parks, culture and sport in the release. “Saskatchewan offers an exceptional quality of life, and our parks are an important part of that.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

 

Organizations: Saskatchewan Archeological Society, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Parks Week First Nations

Geographic location: Buffalo Pound, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, Saskatchewan Canada Greenwater Provincial Park Pike Lake Duck Mountain Provincial Park Mortlach Regina Moose Jaw Lac La Ronge

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