Despite it’s title there is nothing “plain” about this physiographic region that stretches from the Alberta Rockies to the Manitoba escarpment, and northward to the Arctic Ocean. Comprising 1.8 million km2 or 18% of Canada’s surface land, this region contains climates ranging from the Prairie Grassland habitats of the south, to the more northern Boreal Forests, which eventually transform into the treeless Tundra and the polar deserts of the far North.
The semiarid grassland vegetation of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba creates the richest grain producing region in the world. Underlying the entire region are limestone and shale deposits formed from an ancient inland sea that was rich in marine life. The result is sedimentary rocks containing large deposits of oil, natural gas, and potash. In the Red Deer River Valley of Alberta, where desert-like conditions prevail, the forces of water and wind erosion created the characteristic sandstone “hoodoos” of the “Badlands”. It is here, within the dissected walls of the river valley, where the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils in the world is revealed!