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17 October 2010

Saskatchewan's Scotty, the T-Rex Dinosaur and Grasslands National Park.



T.rex Discovery Centre, Eastend, Saskatchewan and Grasslands National Park

Scotty - T.rex dinosaur

6th of October 2010, we took off from our camp at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park


View Larger Map
 early morning in a thick fogg and drove to  Eastend, Saskatchewan....

It is thick fog - 30km per hr is appropriate

Fog early in the morning
our target, "The T.rex Discovery Centre" located in the community of Eastend, SK.




Eastend is famous for the 1991 discovery of a nearly complete Tyrannosaurus Rex or what we more commonly call a T-Rex. He or more then likely a she, was named Scotty.



There is much more to see and do at the Centre. A wonderful movie with an overview of the discovery, further you can see replicas and real bones of ancient marine reptiles to diverse dinosaures, to the prehistoric beasts that came after the dinosaurs. You even can hold (and I know you always wanted to) some dino coprolite.....
Dino Coprolite

Anders holding some sh..... Coprolite

The main focus of the centre is to increase awareness of the very rich and diverse but often overlooked, fossil resources of southwest Saskatchewan.

Liz and her buddy :)

Best friends
The centre is home to a state of the art Fossil Research Station, and interpretive gallery and a collection of touchable fossils.

Fossil Research Station is part of the presentation
 Everyone should go, it's a blast.  Remember "Coprolite Happens"

Check out the website www.trexcentre.ca and our Picasa Web Album, just click image below
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park,incl. Fort Walsh & Grassland Nat.Park


Grasslands National Park

Liz in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan Canada

From Eastend we headed to Grasslands National Park, close to the Monatana border in the SW of Saskatchewan.

The Grasslands National Park is a wonderful "true" nature park, it is the way the prairies used to be before Europeans set foot here. If you are lucky, you will see bison raising dust, swift fox pups playing in a coulee, the rare short horned lizzard, ferruginous hawks, a creek finding its way along an ancient glacial valley and much more.



Hike and find the time-worne ring of stones on a windy ridge. These rings of stones were used to hold down the tipi (tents) of the native indians so the wind would not blow it away.

Many of the native tribes; Gros Ventre, Assiniboine, Cree and Blackfoot hunted bisons and deer here. Even Sitting Bull camped here briefly as he fled the USA after the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

On a side note, east of the park is the striking glacially formed landscape of the Big Muddy Badlands. In the early 1900s, caves of eroded sandstone and deep ravines provided hideouts for cattle thieves such as Butch Cassidy and Dutch Henry

There are lots of hikes you can do and a primitive but wonderful campground "Belza Place" overlooking the valley.
Belza Campground in Grasslands National Park

View from Belza Campground in Grasslands National Park

There is a new campground being built. Talking to the park office, there is no word on when it will be finished but, we think you will be able to stay there for the 2011 season. I think I would prefer the old one though. The only thing available at the Belza Place campground is a dry toilet, so come prepared (that means at least 2L of water per day per person).
Horses on the range

A word of caution, the Bisons are wild and unpredicable, do not go close. Also while hiking or just walking around, be aware of Rattlesnakes. They live here, but will only strike when thretened or cornered. This is a good reason to buy a pair of cowboy boots.

Saskatchewan Antelope on the range


We did the Eco-tour with our own vehical through the park, it was great and we can highly recomend it.

There is a visitor centre (1-306-298-2257) in Val Marie, Saskatchewan at the junction of Hwy#4 and Centre Street. The staff is very knowledgeable, and will provide you with up to date information about the park. The park website is www.parkscanada.gc.ca/grasslands. And I almost forgot, the access to the park is currently FREE.

After our visit we headed back to our camp at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

Our camp at the Meadows Campground in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

Again, more pictures if you click the picture below
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park,incl. Fort Walsh & Grassland Nat.Park

Cheers,

Liz and Anders

2 comments:

  1. Great post! Don't forget to come back and check out Scotty after his new permanent exhibit gets set up in March!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. We will.... maybe next fall.

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