Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, AB

Description

Long before Canada was a nation, the Blackfoot People were a well established and powerful culture on the Great Plains of North America. The rugged ...[more]
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Overview

Description

Long before Canada was a nation, the Blackfoot People were a well established and powerful culture on the Great Plains of North America. The rugged and remarkable landscape of the Milk River valley, in the shadow of the Sweet Pine (Sweetgrass) Hills, is one of the most sacred places in Blackfoot territory. A place of prayer and ceremony, Áísínai'pi (commonly referred to as Writing-on-Stone) is a place where the Blackfoot connect to the land, history, and traditions. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019, Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai'pi provides exceptional testimony to the living cultural traditions of the Blackfoot people. The unique landscape, the rock art, and their sacred connection to the site provides deep and permanent links to the continuing traditions of the Blackfoot people.

Geography:

Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai'pi is in a semi-arid climate that has three distinct habitats, grassland, badlands, and riparian. The Milk River that flows through Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park is a branch of the Missouri River which runs through Montana up through Alberta and back to Montana, eventually flowing to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the Milk River valley are coulees, hoodoos, clay bentonite mounds, sandstone cliffs, and flatlands. The Sweet Pine (Sweetgrass) Hills along the Montana border are visible to the south. Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai'pi also has one of the largest areas of protected prairie in the Alberta Provincial Park system.

Recreation:

Canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on the Milk River from upstream launching points west of the park are great ways to explore the area. A natural beach on the Milk River is accessible from the river or campground. Hiking in the park is supported by 3 trails and a hoodoo exploration area. An accessible trail (0.5km one-way) links the Visitor Centre to a viewpoint of the Sweet Pine (Sweetgrass) Hills. The Visitor Centre Trail (0.5km one-way) connects the Visitor Centre, the campground area, and the hoodoo exploration area. The Hoodoo Interpretive Trail (2.5 km one-way) trail passes different habitats and rock art sites and has a corresponding booklet for a self-guided hike. The backcountry hiking area, accessible by a self-led river crossing, includes the Davis and Humphrey Coulee areas to explore with rolling grasslands, badlands ,and narrow sandstone canyons. Interpretive programs are offered through the regular season. Guided tours access the Archeological Preserve, a restricted access area that protects a large concentration of the park's rock art, to share history, stories, and lessons learned from Elders and archaeologists. Viewpoints along the prairie level include information bulletins on the valley, rock art, and the Northwest mounted Police Post in the park. Interactive exhibits in the Visitor Centre take you through Blackfoot, early settler, and northwest Mounted Police history. Checklist pamphlets of birds, wildflowers, and animals in the park are available for nature explorers.

Facilities:

Visitor Centre Facilities: Interpretive displays, gift shop, information desk, public washrooms. Campground and Day Use Facilities: Camp Store for snacks and beverages, 61 campsites and 3 camping cabins, 2 group camping areas, day use area, 2 shelters, potable water taps, fire pits, picnic tables, vault toilets, shower and washroom building, dump and fill station, beach, playground, interpretive viewpoints, hiking trails.

Nearby Attractions:

Devil's Coulee Dinosaur Heritage Museum, Etzikom Museum and Historic Windmill Centre, Alberta Birds of Prey Centre, Dinosaur Provincial Park, Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Fort Macleod National Historic Site, Fort Whoop-Up National Historic Site, Galt Museum, Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump, Medalta Historic Clay District, Raymond Pioneer Museum, Red Rock Coulee Natural Area, Remington Carriage Museum, Waterton Lakes National Park.

Getting There
GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
49.085, -111.61583
49°5'6"N, 111°36'57"W

Writing-on-Stone/ Áísínai'pi is located in Southern Alberta, a 3.5 hour drive southeast of Calgary. From Lethbridge, Alberta take HWY4 south to the Town of Milk River, then HWY501 east to junction 500, then it is 9km south to range road 130A.

Contact Information

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
Box 297
Milk River  AB  T0K 1M0
Phone Number:
Information:  (403)647-2364

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