The first campers of the season will be trekking into the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park on May long weekend.

Amongst the rolling prairie fields, tucked in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, sits the natural lodgepole pine forest -- a unique phenomenon not found anywhere else in the nation. 

Parks Manager for Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park in Sask., Royce Pettyjohn, is excited to welcome guests back to the park for the season.

"The environment is more like the foothills of the mountains, and you start to see animals and plants that you would typically not see in Saskatchewan," he said. "And as a result, there are some plant species here in the Cypress Hills that are pretty much unique to the province of Saskatchewan. You don't have to go too far afield to experience something completely different than what you're used to, even if it's only an hour away from your backyard."

Camping reservations opened up at the beginning of the month, but Pettyjohn assured that there are still sites available for anyone who hasn't booked their getaway yet. 

Some exciting times throughout the summer to keep in mind while planning a trip to the prairie forest include the Cars in the Hills classic car show in June, Canada Day and the Parks Day celebrations in July, and the annual Hillbilly Hustle and the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party both occurring in August.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the provincial park as a designated dark sky preserve, inspiring a busy and exciting Summer Star Party of amateur astronomers and celestial admirers.

"The etiquette is that everyone's here to relax and to enjoy nature and to have a have a good time," added Pettyjohn. "As a result of that, we do request that there's quiet time 24 hours a day. But of course, we're not killjoys here in the park, we recognize that people are here to enjoy their time away. So just be respectful of your neighbors, keep the noise down to a minimum, and soak in the nature."