Cypress Hills Cottage Information
Did you know that Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park was first established as a Federal Forest Reserve by an Act of the Canadian Parliament in 1906? The headquarters of the Federal Forest Reserve (which straddled the Alberta/Saskatchewan border) was located where the West Block Ranger Station stands today. Then, as a result of the Natural Resources Transfer Act of 1930, the Federal Forest Reserve lands in the Cypress Hills were transferred to the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In December of 1931, legislation was passed by the Province of Saskatchewan creating Cypress Hills Provincial Park as one of Saskatchewan's first Provincial Parks!
Letter from the Park Manager
Greetings Cypress Hills Provincial Park Cottage Owners!
2023 Water Quality Report
Below is a link to the 2023 Water Quality Report for Cypress Hills Provincial Park.
Changes to Garbage Collection
The Ministry of SaskBuilds and Procurement did not receive any bids for the contract to do door-to-door gathering of garbage from individual garbage cans by hand here at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.
Subsequently, the park explored whether or not Triways is able to collect garbage door-to-door using their large garbage trucks. They indicated that given the terrain and narrow roadways of the cottage subdivisions and campgrounds, along with the size and weight of their trucks, this was not a possibility.
As a result, the park had no option but to change the way in which garbage is collected in both the cottage subdivisions and in the campgrounds.
As of April 1, 2023, individual garbage cans ceased being picked by hand.
Instead, large garbage and recycling bins were placed at the exits of the campgrounds and in accessible locations within or near cottage subdivisions.
Although this is a significant change for Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, it is consistent with how garbage collection in undertaken in campgrounds by Alberta Parks and Parks Canada.
It is also how garbage collection for Cottage subdivisions occurs in the vast majority of Saskatchewan Provincial Parks, as well as at Sask Parks Rec Sites where there are cottages.
In order to reduce odours, the bins have been positioned away from inhabited buildings and will be emptied every week.
The garbage and recycling bins for the three Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park cottage subdivisions have been placed as follows:
- Ben Voirlich: Near the Staff Campground just off the Emergency Exit Road.
- Ben Nevis: At the north end of Loch Leven where the old camp kitchen once stood near the Loch Leven Group Campground.
- Ben Vannoch: At the entrance to the subdivision across from the Park Entry Gate.
These locations will be monitored and evaluated for suitability, and adjustments may be made if required. However, they need to be located in areas easily accessible by the large Triways trucks.
The bins located near the cottage subdivisions are intended only for bagged household garbage and household recycling. Larger items of domestic waste (including branches and organic yard debris), as in the past, may still be taken to the park's transfer station up near the fire base.
A couple of benefits of moving to this approach:
- Recycling bins will be more conveniently located. Cottagers will no longer have to drive their recycling all the way up to the transfer station near the fire base.
- Cottagers will no longer have to contend with people passing by and tossing pet waste or unbagged garbage into their individual household garbage cans.
No adjustments will be made to Direct Service Fees for the 2023-2024 lease year as a result of the change. However, the actual costs associated with the new approach will be calculated after the first year, and any necessary adjustments to Direct Service Fees will be addressed in the following fiscal year.
These changes will not impact existing garbage cans in public areas around the park (i.e.: Beach, day-use areas, lookout points, etc.). Existing receptacles in these public areas will continue to be in place but will be attended to by park staff going forward.
Recycling Bins Guidelines
The following CAN be placed in the recycling bins:
- Clean cardboard & boxboard.
- Office paper, newsprint, junk mail, magazines, & catalogues.
- Clean plastic containers (with some exceptions listed below), clean milk cartons & plastic jugs.
- Clean tin and aluminum cans (with or without labels - no steel).
**Everything should be loose (not bagged) and clean, with the exception of long-style shredded paper, which can be put in a clear plastic bag.**
The following CANNOT be placed in the recycling bins:
- Soiled cardboard & unwashed tins/containers.
- Soiled cardboard & unwashed tins/containers.
- Hazardous chemical containers.
- Scrap metal & car parts.
- Plastic toys.
- Wood & yard waste.
- Construction debris.
- Household garbage & food waste.
- Plastic wrap.
- Plastic bags.
- Plastic food containers labelled #1 (the “clam shell” style containers for things like croissants, muffins, etc.).
- Pet waste.
It is the park's hope that by making household recycling bins more convenient, more people will undertake to recycle rather than simply placing recyclables in their regular trash.
However, if it is determined that the household recycling bins are being abused / contaminated with non-recyclable trash, the park will have little choice but to lock the household recycling bins once again behind the gate up at the transfer station.
Landfill / Transfer Station
If you need to access the landfill / transfer station, please call 1-306-661-7137 in advance between 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday from the Victoria Day long weekend until the end of September.
The following things will be permitted to be brought to the park landfill / transfer station:
- Bagged Household Garbage
- Metal (i.e.: An old stove)
- Household Waste (i.e.: Old furniture / painted or stained wood)
- Recycling (as per Triways' single stream recycling guidelines)
- Clean Wood (i.e.: Unpainted & unstained wood, branches, pine needles, etc.)
The following things will NOT be permitted to be brought to the park landfill / transfer station:
- Construction / Demolition / Roofing Debris (including concrete)
- Paint / Stain / Chemicals
- Used Motor Oil
The difference between “Household Waste” and “Construction/Demolition Debris” when it comes to minor/routine maintenance refuse:
- Demolition/Construction Debris (not accepted):
- This is defined as large volumes of building materials associated with a major renovation, re-building, re-roofing, or replacement of cabins, decks, sheds, and/or other structures.
- In these situations, the cottage owner is required to make arrangements with their contractor to have the material taken to an appropriate regional landfill, or in the case of a DIY project, rent a bin from a company who will take the debris to an appropriate regional landfill.
- Minor/Routine Maintenance Refuse (accepted):
- This is defined as small volumes of building materials that result from minor or routine maintenance activities such as replacing a few rotted boards on a deck, replacing a few rotted risers on a set of steps, replacing a worn-out door on a woodshed, etc.
- In minor/routine maintenance situations, cottage owners are free to bring small amounts of building material waste to the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. landfill/transfer station at the Landfill/Transfer Station Attendant's discretion.
If in doubt, simply call 1-306-661-7137 in advance.
“Clean” wood and organic yard waste (branches, pine needles, etc.) can be placed in the park's burn pile.
Please ensure that no plastic bags or non-biodegradable containers are dumped in the burn pile. Brown paper leaf bags work well for pine needles.
Cottage Lessee Park Specific Park Entry Permits
Cottage lessees may pick up their 2023-24 transferable Park Specific Entry Permits from the park office in which their cottage is located beginning May 15, 2023. Pick up for the Annual Park Entry Permits will be available at the park office currently from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until the May long weekend. If an alternative pick up is required, please call Valerie at 1-306-662-5412 to discuss your specific situation. Hours after the May long weekend have yet to be finalized but will be communicated out later on. Once cottage lessees have retrieved their permits, they are considered received and no further permits will be re-issued. If additional permits are required, cottage lessees may purchase a 2023-24 transferrable Annual Park Entry Permit from any provincial park office in Saskatchewan. The two issued transferrable Park Specific Entry Permits are associated with the lease and not the person; therefore, when transferring a lease please ensure these park specific passes are also transferred to the new lease owner as additional ones will not be issued.
Please remember that vehicles within provincial parks are required to always display a valid entry permit throughout the year.
Anyone picking up Annual Park Entry Permits associated with a cottage property at a provincial park must:
- Be named on the provincial park cottage lease agreement.
- Update contact information with park official.
- Provide personal identification.
- Sign for the permits.
As in previous years, where non-compliance issues remain, Annual Park Entry Permits may be withheld by the Ministry until outstanding non-compliant issues have been resolved. Examples of this are (but not limited to): lease fee arrears, expired lease, pending assignment of lease (sale) or unresolved estate (one lessee deceased). If any of these circumstances apply to you, please contact the park office for assistance. These permits will be held in Regina - the Regina office will advance these assigned permits once compliance has been reached.
Year-Round Park Entry
Just a friendly reminder that all vehicles coming into a provincial park are required to have a valid Park Entry Permit year-round.
Therefore, please do not dispose of your Park Entry Permit at the end of the summer season.
Additional seasonal, daily, and weekly vehicle entry permits can be purchased at the park Entry Gate or at the Administration Office.
Additional vehicle entry permits can also be purchased online at times when the Entry Gate and Administration Office are closed: https://parks.saskatchewan.ca
Contractor Park Entry
If you have a contractor coming to do work at your cottage, they can be issued a courtesy pass allowing them access into the park.
Simply contact the park Administration Office to let the park know when you are having a contractor enter the park, and let your contractor know to stop at the Entry Gate or the Administration Office to pick up their contractor courtesy pass.
As many cottages in the cottage subdivisions here at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park do not have house numbers displayed, this can make finding your cottage extremely difficult for emergency responders such as firefighters, police, and ambulance.
If your cottage is without house numbers, please invest in some at your earliest convenience.
If you are not certain as to your civic address, please contact the park Administration Office.
Seasonal water will be turned on to the cottage subdivisions the third week of May and will be turned off by September 18, 2023.
Please note that once the seasonal water is turned back on, it will be subject to a boil water advisory until the testing results come back from the Provincial Lab.
If you plan on doing work to your cottage (new shingles, installing a new shed, etc.), please contact the park Administration Office to seek a work authorization.
If you plan on undertaking the demolition of an existing structure, or the construction a new structure, please contact the contact the Administration Office to seek demolition and building permits.
Information related to set-back requirements, the number of auxiliary buildings one can have on a cottage lot, etc. can be found in the Sask Parks Cottage Directives: www.saskatchewan.ca/cottaging
Vegetation Management on Cottage Lots
Given the number of dead, dying, and collapsing trees on leased lots within the park, as well as increasing questions about encroaching vegetation and/or landscaping; in 2021 the park developed a “Vegetation Management on Leased Lots” guidelines document.
The document outlines responsibilities for lessees with regard to the management of vegetation on their leased lots, when removal permits are required, and what species of trees and shrubs are approved for use in landscaping.
The document also outlines the process for reporting risk trees located on adjacent properties.
Please contact the Administration Office to request a copy of this guidelines document.
As much of the forest here at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is nearing the end of its natural lifespan, the park is seeing more areas of the forest in decline.
Areas in decline are showing increased prevalence of disease, insect infestations, and are seeing an increasing number of trees falling down.
In order to ensure a safe, healthy, and sustainable forest for the benefit of future generations, forest renewal efforts are underway.
This spring 10,880 lodgepole pine saplings are planned to be planted in the Centre Block.
As the older generation of trees continue to decline and are lost to age, strategic forest renewal activities will become increasingly important to ensure that there are new generations of trees ready to take their place.
Fuel Wood Permits
Free firewood permits are available at the Administration Office.
The permit grants the holder approval to gather up to two cords of dead and downed timber for personal use.
It is important to remember that firewood gathered within the park may not be sold, traded, or bartered without a paid forestry product permit from the Ministry of Environment.
Firewood should be stacked 10 meters from a cottage, and overwhelmingly large volumes of firewood should not be stockpiled on a cottage lease lot.
Mountain Pine Beetle
The park saw a decrease in the number of Mountain Pine Beetle infested trees this year.
After a survey of trees in both the West Block and the Centre Block, infested trees were cut down and burned to kill the insects infesting the trees.
In total 239 trees were felled and burned in the West Block and 2 in the Centre Block.
There were 4 trees found on Crown land adjacent to the Centre Block. These were also felled and burned.
The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) completed a FireSmart fuel load modification project west of the Ben Nevis cottage subdivision this winter.
The project saw dead & downed trees, leaning trees, standing dead & dying trees, and damaged trees removed as a priority.
The project also thinned the forest in the treatment area in order to create greater separation between the crowns of the trees.
The objective of the project was to reduce the intensity of a potential wildfire approaching Ben Nevis and reduce the likelihood of a crown fire.
The timber from the project will be collected by the park in the spring so that it can be processed for firewood for the campgrounds.
For tips on how to better protect your cottage from wildfire, the FireSmart Homeowner's Manual can be downloaded here.
As per the park's “Cottage Sub-Division Outdoor Wood Fire Policy”:
- Portable wood-burning fire receptacles are not permitted on decks and balconies.
- Firepits are to be separated from nearby combustible material such as organic debris around the outside of the pit, buildings, and overhanging vegetation.
- Fires must not be left unattended, and the means by which to extinguish a fire must be readily available each time the firepit is used.
- The fire must be fully contained and the top of the firepit must be covered by a spark-arresting grill.
The cottage lot lessee is ultimately responsible under legislation for all fires that they set on their lease lot. If a fire escapes your fire pit, the cottage lot lessee is responsible and liable for any resulting damages and/or firefighting costs.
The Maple Creek Community Fire Department (MCCFD) will respond to all cottage fires within the park.
Should your cottage property be the subject of a structural fire call-out, as the cottage owner, you are responsible for paying for all expenses associated with the MCCFD actioning the fire. The MCCFD will invoice the cottager at the current SGI fire response rates minus 15%.
As a point of reference, here are the 2020 SGI Fire Response Rates:
- $953.59 per hour.
- Pro-rated after the first hour $953.59 x minutes / 60.
- $50.00 per hour per firefighter fighting the fire (this starts from the time the call is received and ends once all equipment is put away and ready for the next response).
- $0.50 per kilometre in cases where firefighters are required to respond with a personal vehicle.
Therefore, in the case of a cottage fire call-out, the cost to the cottager could be anywhere around (or over) $15,000.00.
It is therefore important that all cottagers check with your property insurance provider to ensure that you have the correct level of fire insurance coverage. Also, regularly check and replace your smoke detectors in your cottage.
In the event of an emergency the park's sirens will be sounded, and a notification will be sent via the SaskAlert cellular telephone app.
When you hear the sirens, or receive a SaskAlert notification, tune into the park's FM radio station: 103.7 CHYP FM.
Follow any instructions broadcast over the radio station.
The SaskAlert app can be downloaded from your app store and should be periodically updated to prevent your phone from making it go dormant.
The park sirens are tested on the second Wednesday of July & August at 2:00pm.
Watercraft around Loch Leven must have a permit to be stored on the foreshore chained to one of the yellow posts.
Permits are available at the Administration Office.
Permitted watercraft must have the owner's cabin number affixed to it.
Permits are for spring, summer, and fall only.
All watercrafts are to be removed from the foreshore by October 1 of each year.
Any watercraft remaining on the foreshore after October 1 will be impounded by the park and assessed with a $150.00 removal fee.
Nuisance Wildlife & Noise Complaints
Please call ParkWatch: 1-800-667-1788.
Cottagers may not trap or dispose of nuisance wildlife without first contacting a Conservation Officer.
Feeding wildlife is prohibited under Section 35 of The Parks Regulations, 1991.
While we may feel sorry for wildlife, particularly in the winter months, feeding wildlife often causes them more harm than good.
In some instances, giving wildlife feed that is not a normal part of their diet can lead to death.
Setting out wildlife attractants, such as salt licks, is also prohibited under Section 35.
While setting out salt licks, squirrel feeders, and/or bird feeders may seem innocent enough, these attractants can also draw in less desirable wildlife such as skunks, raccoons, and cougars.
Please keep our wildlife wild by not feeding or baiting wild animals within the park.
Sea Cans & Campers
Sea-cans may not be used in the cottage subdivisions for long-term storage or as garden sheds.
However, permits for the temporary use of sea cans during construction and renovation projects may be obtained from the Administration Office.
Only one camping unit is permitted on a cottage lot and must be totally located within any surveyed lot boundary (cannot be hanging off lot setback lines, or onto roadways) at all times including hitch, awning, and slide outs.
Must not be set up or occupied on a permanent basis - may only have temporary utility hook-ups (meant to be utilized as a camping unit on a temporary basis).
Small tents are permitted for occasional nightly use.
Wanting to give back to your community?
Donations can be made online or in-park to specific areas of the park system customers feel passionate about. Your donation can directly help enhance and preserve our provincial parks long into the future. The generosity of your donation will help fund innovations and new experiences while also supporting education and stewardship, making you a part of the history and the future of Saskatchewan Provincial Parks. Check out the For The Love of Parks section at Donate to Saskatchewan Provincial Parks.
Please ensure that the Park Office has your most recent email address and contact information as all correspondence from the park will be communicated via email.
Winter in the Hills
“Winter in the Hills” ran from November 26, 2022, to March 12, 2023.
From November 26 to December 23, 2022, the park offered the “Trim a Tree” Christmas tree cutting program again this year as a way to manage juvenile white spruce encroaching along the Emergency Exit Road. 128 tree permits were issued.
As in previous years, the park offered cross country ski trails, snowshoe trails, snowmobiling, warm-up shacks, toboggan hill, winter camping, winter Camp-Easy tents, and weekend guided interpretive programs.
As in previous years the Resort at Cypress Hills offered winter accommodations, dining, skating rink, and equipment rentals.
Winter events included the annual winter bird count, the annual New Year's Toboggan Party, as well as a Family Day event and couple of family movie nights hosted by the Resort at Cypress Hills.
Shortly after the New Year, the park received approval for a winter Park Enforcement Officer as a pilot program so that there would be enhanced enforcement presence within the park during the winter months. The pilot was seen as a success and is being reviewed for possible inclusion in future years.
New for this year's “Winter in the Hills” program, the Visitor Centre and the indoor hot tub and sauna at the Leisure Pool were opened to the public on weekends. The Visitor Centre was open 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. to Noon on Sundays. The hot tub & sauna were open 4:00pm to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays, and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The indoor facilities received 1,138 visitors.
Between December 1, 2022 and March 15, 2023, “Winter in the Hills” also saw 57 camping nights and 817 entry permits sold (daily, weekly, & annuals).
2023 Summer Events & Programming
The park is looking forward to another season filled with programming and events. A small select number of which can be viewed below.
The park's Interpreters and Recreation Coordinator will be offering regular interpretive and additional rec programming for school groups and the public throughout the summer season. Watch for programming posters and calendars.
We are pleased to be partnering again with the University of Regina (UofR) on the operation of the park's Observatory. This year, students from the UofR will be operating the Observatory at least 5 nights week for the majority of the summer.
Amphitheatre entertainment is currently being booked. So far, musical performances have been booked at the amphitheatre for June 30, July 2, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and for August 1, 2, 3, 5, 11, 12, 29. Watch for updates on additional performances and presentations as bookings are finalized.
A number of park and third-party events are also in the process of being finalized for 2023, including:
- Cars in the Hills - June
- Canada Day - July
- Parks Day (fireworks & double-header band) - July 15
- Hill Billy Hustle - August 6
- Saskatchewan Summer Star Party - August 16 to August 20
- Cypress Hills High Altitude Trail Challenge - September 2
Due to popular demand, the park's 90th anniversary period photo exhibition will continue to be featured at the Visitor Centre this season.