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Thursday, 03 November 2016 03:49

Grasslands National Park officials hoping for some extra volunteer help Nov. 7-9

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The fence marking initiative went over well in 2015. Plastic clips are placed on fences by volunteers. The fence marking initiative went over well in 2015. Plastic clips are placed on fences by volunteers. Contributed

Grasslands National Park officials are hoping that there are volunteers willing to make their ‘mark at the park’ next week and get some exercise out of it.

There is a volunteer fence marking event at Grasslands National Park from Nov. 7-9. According to Danielle Grant, projects communications officer with Grasslands National Park, and the South Saskatchewan Field Unit Parks Canada, Parks Canada is a recognized world leader in conservation and this is all part of an overall plan to contribute to that conservation.
“Through its Conservation and Restoration Program, Parks Canada takes actions to preserve national parks and contribute to the recovery of species-at-risk. Fences on the landscape present an obstacle to wildlife movement and can result in injury or death when wildlife collide with or get tangled in the fence wires,” explains Grant. “However, fences are an excellent management tool for prescription grazing — an activity that maintains habitat for many species at risk —and are key to maintaining good neighbour relations.
“Grasslands National Park piloted fence marking in 2012 and 2013 to increase visibility and it helps to minimize potential wildlife collisions. It has since become part of regular management activities. For 2016, 10 kilometres of priority fence for marking has been identified, based on proximity to critical habitat for species at risk.”
Grant is hopeful people are willing to help, as not only contributing to the wildlife and contributing to a huge nature conserve area, but to help look after a park. She says Canada’s national parks belong to all Canadians.
“By encouraging Canadians to visit their national parks and historical places, and providing them with the information and means to enjoy them, through volunteer programs such as this, Parks Canada allows more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our heritage,” Grant explains. “In 2014, we had 12 volunteers; in 2015, we had 13 volunteers and in June of this year we had 18 volunteers. This November 7-9, we hope to mark 10 kilometres of fence using vinyl siding cut into three-inch lengths placed along the first two barbed wires of fence with six volunteers and two Parks Canada employees.
“At present, there is 10 kilometres of fence that needs to be marked. Every year, we assess the condition of fences and determine what sections need to be built or repaired, but only those sections near critical habitat will be marked to increase visibility and help minimize wildlife collisions.”
Grant adds any new fences built in critical habitat will also need to be marked. This will provide volunteer opportunities over the next two to four years. Continued opportunity will also exist for subsequent years in order to assess the condition of marked fences, identify if any markers are damaged and check for evidence of wildlife collisions.
As Canada’s largest provider of natural and cultural tourism, Parks Canada’s destinations, such as Grasslands National Park, form important cornerstones for Canada’s local, regional, and national tourism industry.
Grant notes they had a good year and while this year’s visitation numbers have yet to be finalized, she says the park has been experiencing a steady increase in visitation for a number of years.
In 2015, 11,597 visitors were welcome to Grasslands National Park.
The fence marking program is all part of various programs to improve the park. According to the website there are different infrastructure projects such as improving fencing in general, improving the fire hall facilities as well as improvement to the West and East Block visitor facilities which have been part of the target improvement areas.
People interested in taking part in volunteer activities at Grasslands are encouraged to visit the Parks Canada website at: or email officials at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor