Pembina Provincial Grazing Reserve

Established: 1981
Area: 7,703 acres (19,034 hectares)
Terrain: Mainly flat to undulating
Vegetation: Aspen
Balsam poplar,
Region: Lower foothills natural subregion
Nearby municipalities: 9.6 km southeast of Cynthia
Livestock management: Pembina Grazing Association
Looks after livestock and maintains the developed pastures in good, productive condition
Maintains all fence lines, dugouts, corrals and the buildings located at the headquarters site.
Grazing season: Mid-May to end of October
Cattle: 2,000 head of cattle
Wildlife and game: White-tailed deer
Black Bear
Sharptail grouse
Recreational Activity: Trail riding
Snowmobile rallies
Cross-country skiing
Industrial activities: Oil and gas exploration and seismic

The 19,536 acre Pembina Provincial Grazing Reserve is mainly flat to undulating, with a few areas that are gently rolling. Dominant soils are orthic gray luvisols, interspersed with some brunisols and organic areas.

The forest cover consists of aspen, balsam poplar, spruce, and pine on upland areas. This is typical of lands that are within the lower foothills natural subregion.

A total of 7,703 acres have been developed since work began in 1981. With input from Fish and Wildlife, the reserve was designed to provide improved habitat for upland and big game, as well as grazing livestock.

The reserve opened for cattle grazing in 1985 with their headquarters located about 9.6 km southeast of Cynthia. Today, it can accommodate approximately 2,000 head of mature cattle for the grazing season which normally runs from mid-May to the end of October.

Development of the tame pastures, using the integrated resource planning model, was a real challenge given the existence of hundreds of oil wells on the reserve. There's an on-going exploration program, along with winter seismic work. Recreational users are advised to exercise caution when using the access roads in the area as the reserve is situated in the heart of the West Pembina Oilfield.

Wildlife common to the area include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, sharptail grouse and black bear making this reserve a popular hunting destination. Trail riding, snowmobile rallies and cross-country skiing are encouraged, but permission must be obtained from the regional grazing reserve manager.

The Pembina Grazing Association negotiated its management agreement during 1996/97 and the signed agreement became effective on April 1, 1997. The association now handles all livestock management functions including treating sick animals and rotating the livestock through the numerous developed tame pastures. In addition to looking after the pastures, the association also maintains the fences, dugouts, corral system and the buildings located at the headquarters.

Provincial Grazing Reserves are popular recreational sites for the general public. Following is a list of conditions that need to be adhered to when recreating on the Pembina Provincial Grazing Reserve:

Regulatory Conditions of Recreational Access

Under Sections 9(3) and 9(4) of the Recreational Access Regulation, recreational users must:

  • Not litter;
  • Have direct control of any animal brought onto the agricultural disposition land;
  • Not park vehicles so that they block an approach to land;
  • Not enter or use any building or improvement on the disposition;
  • Not cause any damage to the agricultural disposition land or the property of the disposition holder;
  • Leave gates and other property as they were found;
  • Comply with an applicable recreational management plan, if any; and
  • Comply with the restrictions, prohibitions, terms and conditions, if any, imposed by the Local Settlement Officer, or Director.

Specific Access Conditions for this Disposition:

  • LSO conditions – Foot access for recreational purposes is allowed during the grazing season (May 1 to October 31) only in pastures not occupied by livestock.
  • LSO conditions – No access is allowed to pastures where livestock are present.
  • LSO conditions – From November 1 to April 30, motorized vehicles are allowed on developed roads only.
  • LSO condition – Organized recreational groups must obtain a Letter of Authority from the Grazing Reserve office.

For more information, see:


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Updated: Sep 17, 2015