Blackstrap Provincial Park
Blackstrap Provincial Park
BHA worked with the government of Saskatchewan in 2010 following their commitment to the creation of the Conceptual Park Renewal Plan for Blackstrap Provincial Park. The plan was designed to identify and delineate potential facility improvements and developments that would increase the public recreation and destination tourism opportunities. The plan contained recommendations for the redevelopment and “renewl” of Blackstrap Provincial Park, focusing on the government’s goal of increasing the number and diversity of recreational facilities.
The Blackstrap Recreation Site was established in 1968 along the southeast shore of Blackstrap Lake, a reservoir developed for irrigation, industrial development and municipal purposes. It was the site of the skiing venues for the 1971 Canada Winter Games and was designated as a Recreation Class Provincial Park in 1986. When the lift serviced ski area on its manmade mountain was closed in 2007 and the day lodge was destroyed by fire in 2009, the Province determined that it was the appropriate time to re-envision the plan for Blackstrap. The Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and
Sport was given the responsibility to guide the planning and redevelopment process for the Park.
Blackstrap’s close proximity to Saskatoon positions it well to act as a readily accessible day use park. In addition, the attributes of Blackstrap Lake, combined with the very basic camping facilities at the Park, attracts longer term overnight guests from Saskatoon, Regina and the rest of the Province. It is expected that the summer use visitation (May long weekend to Labour Day) will grow to an average of 80,000 visits by 2012. Despite the limited Blackstrap Provincial Park – Conceptual Park Renewal Plan • 2010 ES-3 camping facilities, campground use has continued to steadily grow with camper days now reaching over 18,000 per year. This suggests that, given the right mix of attractions, there is a demand that will match the supply of facilities developed.
A digital terrain model of the Blackstrap area was created as the basis for completing an inventory and analysis of the Park. This was summarized as an Opportunities and Constraints Plan, illustrating all of the current development, land uses and their relationships both within the Park and on adjacent lands. The results provided the basis for exploring a range of development options and potential.
A series of five concepts for Blackstrap were created ranging from a low key, day use oriented redevelopment to the establishment of high end destination resort focused facilities. These were presented to stakeholder groups in March 2010. The resultant input and feedback led to the choice of the elements used in the creation of the Preferred Concept for Blackstrap.
The Preferred Concept for Blackstrap was created as a result of a sequence of plan iterations. This, in turn, became the foundation to the formalization of the Blackstrap Conceptual Park Renewal Plan. The overarching direction for the Park’s future is described by the Vision, Goals and Objectives. These are as follows. Blackstrap is envisioned to be:
“One of the premier Provincial Recreation Parks of both Saskatchewan and Western Canada, offering a high quality resort and recreation oriented experience with a wide range of special and unique facilities, catering to the needs and expectations of day use recreation for the residents of the Saskatoon centred region as well as to the longer term requirements of regional visitors and destination tourists.”
As Blackstrap is incrementally developed and refined into the future, the intent is to ensure that the Park and all it has to offer provides a great, not just alright, recreational opportunity. The following development goals and objectives are designed to complement and achieve this vision and intention:
- Respect the natural attributes of the setting, recognizing that these are a cornerstone to Blackstrap’s attraction and currency;
- Gradually reconfigure the Park, making improvements to the site plan, structure and operation;
- Develop new state of the art, all-season major recreation facilities, attractions and amenities in a well balanced and integrated fashion;
- Taking advantage of the linear nature of the Park, establish two park entrances leading to destination anchor focal points from which all of the attractions are placed and directly associated;
- Improve lake access and use in an all-season capacity;
- Develop an extensive hierarchy of trails internal to the Park as well as providing access to lands beyond ;
- Expand and develop the amount, type and range of overnight accommodation and camping within the Park;
- Incorporate the opportunity for the private sector to develop a golf course within the Park at some point in the future;
- Retain the ability for the private sector to redevelop Blackstrap Mountain into a skiing and snowboarding facility at some point in the future;
- Incorporate the opportunity for the private sector to develop lodge style accommodation, short term rental cabins and RV sites, restaurants and cafes;
- Incorporate the opportunity for the private sector to participate in the development of a recreation and sports oriented Club Building.