Each month from May to October, the STA is promoting a trail in a different part of the province to encourage people to explore nature and be physically active.
Buffalo Pound Provincial Park pays tribute to its past use as a hunting ground by maintaining a herd of plains bison in a hillside paddock. Today, the focus of this park, located 20 minutes northeast of Moose Jaw, is a memorable getaway for fun-seekers and nature lovers alike.
The park provides hikers with the opportunity to explore interpretive trails that stretch through the rich natural heritage of Nicolle Flats Interpretive Area, filled with marshes, grasslands, rivers and woodlands that mingle together to provide shelter and homes for a variety of wildlife.
Your hiking journey could lead you to the:
Nicolle Flats Marsh Boardwalk Interpretive Trail: This short route of 0.5 kilometres takes you into the heart of a remarkable landscape and is a magnet for wildlife, such as shy sora rails, yellow-headed blackbirds, American bitterns, western plains garter snakes, pintail ducks, canvasback ducks, shoveler ducks, coots, grebes, water tigers, dragonfly nymphs, water boatmen and caddisfly larva. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk tell the story of the marsh world.
Nicolle Flats Trail: This 3 km trail connects the marsh area with the Nicolle Homestead. It’s an easy, pleasant walk through prairie grasslands and wooded coulees. The reward at the end of the trail is a shady maple grove oasis where you can rest.
Bison View Interpretive Trail: A walk along this 2.9 km trail provides opportunities to view the captive herd of bison against a backdrop of prairie sky and grasses and to remember the bison as they once were. Views of the bison paddock and marsh area along the trail are spectacular and are sure to inspire further exploration of the area.
Dyke Trail: The 8 km trail takes you completely around the marsh. The dyke and other water control structures make the marsh a productive wetland for waterfowl and other wildlife. Bicycles are allowed on this portion of the Nicolle Flats trail system as it is part of the Trans Canada Trail.
The Valley Trail: Located on the east side of the interpretive area, the 1.5 km trail takes you into one of the richest parts of the valley – the junction of Moose Jaw and Qu’Appelle Rivers. The trail follows the high banks of Moose Jaw River to its junction with the Qu’Appelle River and returns via the dyke along the edge of Nicolle Flats Marsh. In the woodlands that grow on the floodplains of these two waterways, there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.
Mountain Biking Trail: More than 30 km of maintained mountain bike trails are located in the park near the former Whitetrack ski resort. Well-marked trails follow the natural contours of the valley and range from gently rolling scenic rides for the whole family to technical trails with challenging climbs and descents for the serious enthusiast. Thanks to National Trails Coalition funding, a recent project was undertaken by several groups including the Saskatchewan Cycling Association to improve the trails. A sustainable trail assessments was completed by Sustainable Trails, focusing on problem areas such as tread cupping, erosion, inappropriate trail location/design and drainage. The group then constructed seven wood bridges and rerouted of 1,197.3 meters of trail.
Winter Trails: Buffalo Pound has 7 km of ungroomed cross-country ski trails starting from the Lower Chalet area.