2015-2019 | Grasslands National Park, SK
Grasslands National Park is a unique and sensitive habitat, boasting breathtaking views and stunning hiking trails. Established in 1981 and split into two blocks, the Park represents the Prairie Grasslands region and protects a sensitive area of undisturbed dry mixed-grass / shortgrass prairie grassland. The unique landscape and harsh, semi-arid climate provide niches for several adapted plants and animals. The park and surrounding area house the country’s only black-tailed prairie dog colonies. Rare and endangered wildlife found in the park include bison, pronghorns, greater sage-grouses, burrowing owls, brown bears, coyotes, ferruginous hawks, swift foxes, elk, wolverines, prairie rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets and greater short-horned lizards.
To enable visitors to access, learn and appreciate the unique ecosystem, Parks Canada Agency challenged McElhanney to design a parkway in the East Block that would allow access to the attractions and viewpoints, while minimizing impacts to the wildlife and overall ecosystem. The 10.4km scenic road design focused on a single lane, dual direction paved surface, flush to the ground, and used existing historical trails to reduce disturbances.
Being in a National Park, environmental impacts were of the utmost concern, so special consideration was taken for many aspects of the work including work around SARA protected species habitat.
McElhanney was retained by Parks Canada Agency to provide the following services: project management; roadway and surfacing design; geotechnical and materials testing; drainage review and design; utility coordination; signage; construction administration; and surveying.
In 2019, the Grasslands Badlands Parkway project earned an Award of Distinction in the environmental category from the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Saskatchewan. Learn more about the award win in our news archive, or explore the Grasslands Badlands Scenic Viewpoint Parkway website.