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The Cypress Hills are unique both geographically and biologically The plateau of the Cypress Hills area is whats known as an erosional plateau because it was formed first by millions of years of sedimentary deposits then by millions of years of erosion It is the highest elevation of land east of the Rockies and west of Labrador rising 1300 1400 feet above sea level Because of its height location - and luck - it escaped erosion caused by glaciers and time This is very significant because glacial erosion scars and changes the landscape permanently Consequently this area was left untouched the vegetation and wildlife were isolated and protected for thousands of years For example there is a species of Leopard Frog native to the Hills that are distinct from any other species in any of the Prairie Provinces Likewise there is a type of Crossbill bird indigenous to that area that adapted to eat from the Lodgepole pinecones which are also the only of their kind in Saskatchewan Its crossed-over beak is specialized for tearing apart the cones separating the bracts from the seeds The animal and plant life in the Cypress Hills is more characteristic of the Rocky Mountains then the surrounding grassland plains It also has a more moderate climate and more precipitation The Hills are home to freshwater streams and creeks lakes forests rare flowers and shrubs meadows marshlands and ranch lands Understandably the first name it was given was beautiful highlands by the Cree Later Metis fur traders and explorers in the early 1800s named the area Cypress because they mistook the lodgepole pines on the hills for the cypress or jack pine of eastern Canada Cypress Hills has a very rich cultural history It was in the heart of Plains Indian land in the middle of many warring tribes yet it was the territory of none Indian hunting parties only slept in the area if they had no
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