Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park - Alberta is about
20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) in size. The park contains:
Elkwater Lake, Reesor Lake and Spruce Coulee Reservoir provide about 300 hectares (740 acres) of water surface in the park. The park's water courses drain into the South Saskatchewan River system and the Missouri River basin.
Cypress Hills forests are dominated by lodgepole pine, most of which developed after forest fires that ocurred in the late 1800s. One hundred and twenty-year-old lodgepole pine with stump diameters of 50 cm (19 inches) and heights of 23 metres (75 feet) are common in the southern portion of the park.
White spruce occurs in mixed and pure stands in the northern portion of the park and in most creek bottoms. One of the largest white spruce trees found measured 27.3 metres (89 feet) tall and had a stump diameter of 104 cm (41 inches).
Aspen is found in pure and mixed stands throughout the park. Balsam poplar is almost exclusively confined to the moist sites and lower elevations of the north escarpment.
Lodgepole pine, white spruce and aspen invade the grasslands with equal distribution and tenacity.
Atropellis canker, Armillaria root rot, dwarf mistletoe, western gall rust and root collar weevil are among the agents contributing to damage and mortality in lodgepole pine stands. Mountain pine beetles were at outbreak populations in the early to mid-1980s. They are now at an endemic level, monitored by means of pheromone baits.
An expanding spruce beetle population has killed numerous large white spruce; however, losses have been mitigated by abundant spruce regeneration. A spruce budworm outbreak discovered in the lower Battle Creek valley is of more concern because understory trees have been fatally attacked.
Aspen and balsam poplar are mostly self-propagating and are only of concern in Elkwater townsite and the park's campgrounds.
More information on the flora of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park according to natural regions and sub-regions.