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Grassland Region

Located in the southeastern corner of the province and comprising 14 percent, or approximately 30 million acres, of Alberta's total natural landscape is a region referred to as the Grasslands. That is a lot of grass, good thing you don't have to cut it to get your allowance!

Alberta's grasslands are part of the Great Plains that stretch from the Gulf of Mexico, through the United States and into Canada's prairie provinces.

The Grassland Natural Region occupies a broad area of southern Alberta and extends west to the Rocky Mountains and north to the southern edge of the Parkland Natural Region in central Alberta. The region is a flat to gently rolling plain with a few major hill systems.

Rivers in the Grassland Natural Region are part of either the Saskatchewan River or Missouri River systems. Where valleys are carved deeply into bedrock, badlands have developed. Numerous coulees and ravines are associated with these river valley systems.

There are four Subregions within the Grassland Natural Region: Dry Mixedgrass, Mixedgrass, Northern Fescue, and Foothills Fescue. These Subregions are separated primarily by different climates, soils and vegetation. The Dry Mixedgrass Subregion is most extensive, starting at the United States border north and west to the Mixedgrass and Northern Fescue Subregions. The Mixedgrass Subregion occurs generally west of the Dry Mixedgrass Subregions. The Northern Fescue and Foothills Fescue Subregions occur in narrow belts along the northern and western margins of the Dry Mixedgrass and Mixedgrass Subregions. Despite the settlement and development that has occurred in the Grassland region, Alberta boasts two of the largest wilderness grasslands in Canada - Canadian Forces Base Suffield (north of Medicine Hat) and the Milk River-Lost River in the extreme southeast. For many, this region seems desolate - a vast stretch of land lying empty. However, the grassland region is not comprised solely of prairie. Because the region has been particularly marked by the advance and retreat of the glaciers it boasts an unexpected magnificence with it's moraines, glacial lakes, ridges of sand dunes, valleys and canyons.

For additional information on Alberta's natural regions click here.

The Grassland region of Alberta.

The Grassland region of Alberta.

The Grassland region of Alberta.

The Grassland region of Alberta.

The Grassland region of Alberta.

The Grassland region of Alberta.