A Nocturnal Preserve, two Dark Sky Preserves, and two observatories make up the Cypress Hills Destination Area, offering an incredible look at our night skies.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
Cypress Hills Saskatchewan
The Cypress Hills Dark-Sky Preserve is one of the darkest, easily accessible dark-sky preserves and one of the largest with 39,600 hectares protected – that’s 97,850 football fields! To help visitors better experience the amazing dark sky that surrounds the park, Cypress Hills Saskatchewan opened their doors in August 2011 to an observatory. Current programming includes astronomy education programs, private and group bookings and an Astronomer-in-Residence program.
The observatory includes a Dome Observatory with a 60 seat Yurt classroom and outside telescope platforms. There are three telescopes: a 14 inch Celestron in the observatory donated by The Friends of Cypress Hills Inc. and two portable Dobsonian telescopes (10″ and 12″). Current programming includes astronomy education programs, private and group bookings and an Astronomer-in-Residence program.
Contact the park office for more information on times and program schedule, or to arrange programming for your family or group.
Grasslands National Park
Grasslands National Park
p. 1-877-345-2257 (West Block Visitor Centre – Val Marie, SK)
p. 1-306-476-2018 (East Block McGowan’s Visitor Centre at Rock Creek Campground)
Grasslands National Park of Canada, a protected place of national significance, inspires discovery of its unique prairie species and ecosystems, captivating viewscapes and the amazing adaptations of plants, animals and people to its challenging environment. During the International Year of Astronomy, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada declared Grasslands National Park a Dark Sky Preserve (2009). The vast open landscape of the West and East Block covering over 729 square kilometres, holds above it Canada’s darkest Dark Sky Preserve.
Contact the Visitor Centres of Grasslands National Park to learn about their Dark Sky Programs.
Old Man on His Back - Nocturnal Preserve
Nestled in relative natural darkness from sunset to sunrise, Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation area (OMB) has been designated as a Nocturnal Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) as of 2015 and is the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) first darkness preserve in all of Canada.
OMB is a sprawling 13,000-acre (5,261-hectare) ranch comprised of grasslands and native prairie located in southwestern Saskatchewan. The ranch has very little intrusion from articial lighting or any glow from nearby community and urban centres.
By day, the OMB ranch provides a rare opportunity to experience the ageless beauty of the natural Saskatchewan prairie, or perhaps view a herd of roaming plains bison that occupy the ranch — all of which is managed by NCC in Saskatchewan. By night, visitors can experience camping and quiet chats, gentle breezes and silence, all bathed in darkness. And on clear nights an occasional moon and thousands of stars.