Here we are talking about a park not the popular rap group known as Cypress Hill! One of Alberta's largest provincial parks is located in the southeast corner of the province. In fact, Cypress Hills is Canada's first and only interprovincial park, with portions in both Saskatchewan and Alberta. The unusual combination of natural regions here is due to the extreme altitude of the hills, which rise 1,466 metres (4,810 feet) above sea level-the highest point of land between the Canadian Rockies and Labrador. Because of this, the hills were not covered by glaciers during the last ice age. The Cypress Hills also have the distinction of being a Rocky Mountain Natural Region outside the Rocky Mountains. That's kind of strange isn't it!? Many plants and animals here are typical of the mountain and foothills, in contrast to those of the surrounding Grasslands Region. As a result, this park has diverse terrain with a wide variety of plant and animal life. In May and June, wildflower enthusiasts enjoy the many local beauties, including 14 species of wild orchids.
Natural history is not the only reason that Cypress Hills is a special place. A 7,000 year old Aboriginal camp found here is one of the most important archaeological sites in Alberta. In more recent history, the Cypress Hills massacre in 1873 prompted the establishment of the North-West Mounted Police, bringing law and order to the Canadian west.
For more information on Alberta's natural regions click here.