Pembina Valley Provincial Park. Draft Management Plan

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1 Pembina Valley Provincial Park Draft Management Plan

2 2 Pembina Valley Provincial Park Table of Contents 1. Introduction Park History Park Attributes Natural Recreational Park Management Framework Park Classification Park Purpose Land Use Categories Park Management Guidelines Natural Values Recreation Interpretation Commercial Operations... 6 Appendix... 7 A. Park Classification and Land Use Categories Bibliography... 8 Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship Parks and Natural Areas Branch Draft: Spring 2013

3 Draft Management Plan 3 2. Park History In the late 1980s the owners of what is now Pembina Valley Provincial Park began to establish a system of hiking trails on their property. Wishing to see their land protected in perpetuity, they sold the land with the caveat that it would become a provincial park. The land was sold to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which subsequently donated it to the province. The site became Pembina Valley Provincial Park in Introduction Pembina Valley Provincial Park The Provincial Parks Act (1993) requires that a management plan be prepared for each provincial park. Management plans establish long-term direction for parks and address issues pertaining to resource protection, land use and development. They are to be used in conjunction with park regulations, directives and other departmental and government policies. The process of preparing the management plan for Pembina Valley Provincial Park and co-ordinating the public involvement process was the responsibility of a team involving staff from the Parks and Natural Areas branch, regional staff of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, and a consultant contracted to work on the project. The management plan for Pembina Valley Provincial Park is based on its role in Manitoba s system of parks and the participation of those who use and care about the park. The treaty and Aboriginal rights of Aboriginal peoples to pursue traditional uses and activities within Pembina Valley Provincial Park are acknowledged and respected. 3. Park Attributes Pembina Valley Provincial Park is 171 hectares in size. Accessed from Provincial Road 201, the park is 150 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg and 33 kilometres from the Town of Morden. The southern boundary of the park is less than half a kilometre from the Canada-United States border. Since the designation of the provincial park, some adjacent land owners have offered to sell their land to the province to add to the park. Manitoba considers these offers on a case-by-case basis and purchases the lands where they may be valuable additions to the park. In time, these lands will be officially designated as park land. When such an expansion to Pembina Valley Provincial Park occurs, this management plan should be revised accordingly. 3.1 Natural Pembina Valley Provincial Park lies within the Pembina/ Tiger Hills Natural Region. The striking landscape of the Pembina Valley was created over thousands of years as glacial waters flowing into Lake Agassiz carved out the valley walls. Today much of the region has been cultivated but native vegetation remains on the steep slopes of the valley. Since the valley is quite narrow and has much of its natural vegetation, it is a relatively intact valley ecosystem.

4 4 Pembina Valley Provincial Park Most of the park is in a natural state. The steep slopes found in the park not only make for interesting and challenging hiking trails, but create a wide variety of habitats for flora and fauna. Vegetation includes an abundance of chokecherries, saskatoons, wild raspberries, pincherries and other native prairie plants. There are dense stands of aspen and bur oak throughout much of the park. Small sections of the park that had been cultivated remain void of trees. The park is located along a major migration route for raptors and is a popular birding area, particularly in the spring and autumn. Songbirds such as warblers, vireos and chickadees and raptors such as the red-tailed hawk and golden eagle inhabit and migrate through the valley. The bigmouth shiner is known to inhabit the portion of the Pembina River adjacent to the park. It is listed as a fish species of special concern under The Species at Risk Act (2002) (Species at Risk Public Registry, 2012). Pembina Valley is one of the finest areas in southern Manitoba to view the night sky because of the absence of artificial light. 3.2 Recreational Pembina Valley features hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty. Several picnic spots and a non-modern washroom are located along the trails. A lookout tower along one of the trails provides a 360 degree panoramic view of the park. A picnic shelter and non-modern washroom are located next to the parking lot for day-use. The park is well used by local residents and groups. The Pembina Valley Bible Camp is located immediately next to the north edge of the park and visitors to the camp use the park for hiking and bird watching. 4. Park Management Framework 4.1 Classification Manitoba s provincial park system is made up of almost 100 different parks and park reserves. The role of an individual park within this system is identified by its classification. Classification descriptions can be found in Appendix A. Pembina Valley Provincial Park is classified as a Natural Park. The main purpose of a Natural Park is both to preserve areas of a natural region and to accommodate a diversity of recreational opportunities and resource uses in accordance with The Provincial Parks Act (1993). 4.2 Park Purpose Manitoba s provincial park system was established to conserve ecosystems and maintain biodiversity; to preserve unique and representative natural, cultural and heritage resources; and to provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities in a natural setting. Within this larger framework, individual parks contribute towards the overall objective of the provincial park system. A System Plan for Manitoba s Provincial Parks (1997) states that the purpose of Pembina Valley Provincial Park is to preserve areas that are representative of the Pembina/Tiger Hills Natural Region of Manitoba, and accommodate nature-oriented recreational opportunities. The park will: protect the representative features of the glacial spillway and river valley ecosystem, including deciduous forest and river habitats provide nature-oriented recreational opportunities such as hiking and wildlife viewing in a largely undisturbed environment promote public appreciation and understanding of the park s natural features

5 Draft Management Plan Land Use Categories Land Use Categories (LUCs) identify the important attributes of broad areas within a provincial park. Land may be categorized in Wilderness, Backcountry, Resource Management, Recreational Development, Heritage or Access LUCs. LUC descriptions can be found in Appendix A. The majority of Pembina Valley Provincial Park (96%) has a Backcountry (B) LUC. The main purpose of this category is to protect examples of natural landscapes and provide basic facilities and trails for nature-oriented recreation in a largely undisturbed environment. This portion of Pembina Valley Provincial Park: Protects the natural habitat and landforms of the glacial spillway and river valley ecosystem including deciduous forest and aquatic habitat Provides opportunities for nature-oriented recreation, such as hiking and wildlife viewing in a largely undisturbed environment A small portion (4%) of the park has a Recreational Development (RD) LUC. The main purpose of this category is to accommodate recreational development. This portion of Pembina Valley Provincial Park: Accommodates recreation, day-use and maintenance areas Pembina Valley Provincial Park Map Pembina River UV 201 B UV Metres RD

6 6 Pembina Valley Provincial Park 5. Park Management Guidelines 5.1 Natural Values Pembina Valley Provincial Park is part of a valley ecosystem and maintenance of the natural landscape on both sides of the valley is critical to the functioning of the ecosystem. The park is a largely natural area with some disturbed areas such as old pastures and cultivated fields. Invasive plant species are displacing existing native vegetation in some areas and, if not controlled, could dramatically alter the plant species composition in the park. Common tansy, leafy spurge and spotted knapweed are the invasive species that have been found in the park. A bio-control program has been initiated to control spotted knapweed. Guidelines 1. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship will continue to consider offers to purchase lands adjacent to the park with a focus on those lands which will contribute to greater representation of the Pembina Valley ecosystem. 2. Previously disturbed areas will be assessed for their potential to be rehabilitated to a natural condition. Rehabilitation will be undertaken where feasible. 3. The park will be monitored for invasive plant species. Measures will be taken to control invasive species in order to minimize the risk to the native vegetation. 5.2 Recreation The parking and picnic area of Pembina Valley Provincial Park provides basic recreational facilities. The trail system focuses on the natural environment, offering facilities that allow visitors to enjoy the wildlife, the views, and its uniquely dark sky. Guidelines 1. The park will be managed to maintain a natural looking landscape and dark sky. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship will work with adjacent landowners to help maintain the viewshed and dark sky of the park. 2. The park will continue to offer basic day-use facilities near the parking/picnic/trailhead area of the park. 5.3 Interpretation Providing outdoor educational opportunities and experiences in a natural setting is one of the purposes of provincial parks as stated in The Provincial Parks Act. The park is a unique natural landscape with a variety of natural features that enhance visitors experiences. Public appreciation and understanding of the park s natural features should be promoted. Guidelines 1. Interpretive information will continue to be provided through interpretive signage and publications such as maps, brochures and the Parks and Natural Areas website. 2. Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship will work with partners on specific interpretive initiatives where appropriate. 5.4 Commercial Operations Commercial activity within a park has the ability to enhance or detract from the park experience and must be managed to best suit the park environment and user needs. Guideline 1. Commercial operations will not be permitted in the park.

7 Draft Management Plan 7 Appendix A Park Classification and Land Use Categories Park Classifications In accordance with section 7(2) of The Provincial Parks Act (1993), all provincial parks are classified as one of the following types: (a) a wilderness park, if the main purpose of the designation is to preserve representative areas of a natural region; (b) a natural park, if the main purpose of the designation is both to preserve areas of a natural region and to accommodate a diversity of recreational opportunities and resource uses; (c) a recreation park, if the main purpose of the designation is to provide recreational opportunities; (d) a heritage park, if the main purpose of the designation is to preserve an area of land containing a resource or resources of cultural or heritage value; (e) any other type of provincial park that may be specified in the regulation. Land Use Categories In accordance with section 7(3) of The Provincial Parks Act (1993), all provincial parks are categorized into one or more of the following land use categories: (a) a wilderness category, if the main purpose of the categorization is to protect representative or unique natural landscapes in an undisturbed state and provide recreational opportunities that depend on a pristine environment; (b) a backcountry category, if the main purpose of the categorization is to protect examples of natural landscapes and provide basic facilities and trails for nature-oriented recreation in a largely undisturbed environment; (c) a resource management category, if the main purpose of the categorization is to permit commercial resource development or extraction in a manner that does not compromise the main purpose of the park classification; (d) a recreational development category, if the main purpose of the categorization is to accommodate recreational development; (e) a heritage category, if the main purpose of the categorization is to protect a unique or representative site containing a resource or resources of cultural or heritage value; (f) an access category, if the main purpose of the categorization is to provide a point or route of access in a provincial park or a location for a lodge and associated facilities; (g) any other category that may be specified in the regulation.

8 8 Pembina Valley Provincial Park Bibliography Manitoba Natural Resources. A System Plan for Manitoba s Provincial Parks Province of Manitoba. Find Your Favourite Park: Central Parks Pembina Valley Provincial Park. Species At Risk Act. S.C., c Species at Risk Public Registry. Schedule 1 (Subsections 2(1), 42(2) and 68(2)) List of Wildlife Species at Risk The Provincial Parks Act. C.C.S.M., c. P

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