Blackstrap Provincial Park
|Blackstrap Provincial Park|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Governing body||Saskatchewan Provincial Parks|
Blackstrap Provincial Park is a provincial park in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It consists of a conservation area with a man made lake, a campground, and a man made mountain, Blackstrap Ski Hill. The park is located east of Dundurn and accessed via Saskatchewan Highway 211. The ski hill was first developed in 1970 for the Canada Winter Games and operated until 2007. The provincial park was established in 1986.
In 1969, the land was acquired for the construction of Mount Blackstrap for the 1971 Canada Winter Games. The land used to create the mountain later became the reserve for Lake Blackstrap. Water used to flood and maintain the lake is gravity fed via an earthen aqueduct from Lake Diefenbaker. Local legend claims that the name for the region is derived from an incident involving the breaking of a barrel of blackstrap molasses during transport through the valley, thereafter becoming known as Blackstrap.
Fred Wilson, reeve of the Dundurn RM, Whitecap Dakota First Nation and surrounding municipalities in the area have shown support to convert the provincial park to a regional park. Development of the roadways, cabins, housing, and camping would impart more financial aid to the park, which would be addressed by the communities. The operation of the ski hill for the year of 2007 was estimated at $465,000 by the provincial government. No private sector came forward to run the hill, and it was closed down. But due to a sudden boom in the immigration to the province and a booming economy, offers are expected to come in. Provincial funding to Blackstrap Provincial Park has historically supported the ski hill operations only and the remainder of the park has deteriorated. Christine Tell, minister of Tourism, parks, culture and sport, and Van Isman, Tourism and parks deputy minister will update the provincial government's Blackstrap provincial park management plan to aim to make Blackstrap the best facility it can be.
In 2013, the provincial government announced that two private companies would spend $2.6 million on a new marina and cabins in the park.
Activities include mountain biking, fishing, hiking, boating, wind sailing, cross country and downhill skiing and camping.
Legal Land Description township 32- range 3-West of the 3rd Meridian
Blackstrap Ski Hill
Blackstrap Ski Hill, (also known as "Mount Blackstrap") is a man-made skiing and snowboarding hill located approximately 51 km (32 mi) south of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada east of Highway 11, the Louis Riel Trail. It is one of only a few man-made mountains in the world. It is a unique feature on Saskatchewan's prairie landscape. It is now a feature of the park along with Blackstrap Lake. It rises 45 metres above the surrounding land.
The hill was built in 1970 by the Canadian government for the 1971 Canada Winter Games at a height of 2,045 feet above sea level. The mountain is built with soil excavated from the escarpment behind the "mountain". The theme for the Saskatoon bid for the 1971 Canada Games was "Going to build a mountain" in honor of the construction of the hill.
After the Canada Winter Games, the ski hill was turned over to a private operator. However, the hill was closed permanently in 2008 due to declining ridership. The ski lodge was destroyed by a suspicious fire in September 2009. A month later, the provincial government announced that the remaining ski equipment at the hill would be dismantled and sold.
By the end of 2012, three developers had approached the government with proposals to develop a recreation area. Requests for proposals were accepted until the spring of 2013. One developer withdrew his proposal, while the other two submissions did not include redevelopment of the ski hill.
Local communities on the shore of Lake Blackstrap include two villages and one small group of estates: the resort village of Thode, the resort village of Shields, and Skyview Estates. Thode is located on the north-west shore of Lake Blackstrap directly across from the main beach at Blackstrap Provincial Park, and is home to approximately 156 people who live there year round. Most of the people in Thode live either directly on the lakeshore, or have an unobstructed view over the lakeshore road which separates them from the lake. Shields is on the north-east Shore of Lake Blackstrap and is home to approximately 172 people who also live there year round. It also has a golf course which includes a view of Lake Blackstrap, and is maintained locally by the Shields community. Unlike Thode, only a portion of Shields is lakefront property. In addition to the full-time residents, Shields and Thode have summer cottagers which are not reflected in the population statistics. Skyview Estates is a small group of large estate homes located between north-west bend of Blackstrap Lake and accessed from Highway 11. The estates have a view of the mountain; Blackstrap Ski Hill, and the lake, and are across from the Blackstrap Provincial Park camp grounds. Skyview Estates has its own marina allowing the residents unlimited access to the water. However, the estates themselves do not actually connect to the shore.
- Arm River-Watrous
- Dundurn, Saskatchewan
- List of Saskatchewan parks
- List of Canadian provincial parks
- Saskatchewan Highway 211
- Saskatchewan Highway 11
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