John Froese - A Driving Force Behind Saskatchewan’s Parks and Recreation Industry

SPRA proudly recognizes John Froese of Swift Current, Saskatchewan with the 2021 President’s Award of Distinction.

(Award recipient John Froese in his home. Photo credit: Andrew Exelby)

As an award which recognizes contributions to the industry at the provincial, district and local levels, John Froese is a more than worthy recipient. For over 30 years, he has volunteered and advocated for Regional Parks in Saskatchewan. Froese recognizes parks as unique assets for the people of Saskatchewan, and has spent his career working to ensure they could provide recreational opportunities for everyone while remaining important cultural and environment sites.

Froese’s journey began in 1989 at Lac Pelletier Regional Park, when he joined the Park Authority’s Board. He proudly served as the Chair of the Board from 1991-2012. His involvement at the local and regional level led to his role on Board of the Saskatchewan Regional Park Association (SRPA) from 1997-2019. From 2002-2019, he served as Chair of the SRPA Board, and oversaw transformational changes of the Regional Park system in Saskatchewan. Said Garry Blanchette, Board Chair of SRPA:   

“Regional Parks are John’s passion. Without John Froese, we would not have the Regional Park System in Saskatchewan as we know it today. John has been instrumental in working to unite Regional Parks as a group and in supporting local park authorities. He has advocated for funding and recognition with the provincial government."

"His volunteer efforts with Regional Parks has had a lasting and immense impact on parks and the available recreation opportunities they provide across the province! From the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association Board, we would like to say, "Thank you John, and extend to you our sincere gratitude."”

Our Association was also fortunate to have Froese serve on our Board of Directors from 2005-2007, during which time he provided invaluable guidance and input. It is hard to imagine how many volunteer hours he spent contributing to these Boards and organizations throughout his career.

While John Froese has made countless contributions to our industry, after speaking with him, he shared some of his favourite achievements with us:

  • Being involved with the development of Lac Pelletier Regional Park from a “small, struggling park to quite a large park today, with a grass green golf course, a fully computerized irrigation system, and a state-of-the-art Water Treatment Plant.”
  • The installation of a Métis Veterans Memorial in Lac Pelletier Regional Park. This project was completed in partnership with the Prairie Dog Métis Local 123, and in John’s words, will “honour the local Métis that served in a way that will preserve their names and memories forever.”
  • Guiding the careful evolution of Saskatchewan’s Regional Parks from the province’s best kept secrets to a strong network of Regional Parks, connected and well governed by the Saskatchewan Regional Park Association. These parks now offer some of the most robust recreation and park opportunities in the province.
  • Building and donating a traditional Red River Cart to Lac Pelletier Regional Park in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary and continued recognition of the Métis population that once lived in the Lac Pelletier Valley.

Finally, he wished to make a statement:

“I am honoured to receive the President’s Award of Distinction from The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association. I would like to thank the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association Board of Directors and everyone else who helped with the nomination. It is an Award not thought of during the years of volunteer work. It all started in 1989. It’s been a good run. And although I have retired, my dedication and volunteerism to parks and recreation in the province remains the same. Thank you.”

Congratulations John Froese. The Board and Staff of The Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association thank you for your decades of service, lasting legacy, and dedicated care for our province’s parks and green spaces!