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SASKATCHEWAN

Canadian Forces Station Yorkton:

RCAF Station Yorkton opened as a Pinetree Line radar station on 15 October 1962, about 10 miles west of the former wartime training base No. 11 Service Flying Training School. 46 Radar Squadron was formed to handle the radar duties, reporting to the Central NORAD Region.

The station was re-named CFS Yorkton in May 1967.

CFS Yorkton closed on 1 August 1986. The site is now the Whitespruce Centre, a youth addiction facility. Most of the original buildings remain and are in good condition.

Additional source material: “Sentinel” Magazine from June 1968, pg 46, History of 2CFFTS web site – http://www.moosejaw.dnd.ca/2his_e.asp#to_top, the Pinetree Line web site – http://www.pinetreeline.org & the Air Cadets Glider Training web site – http://www.mts.net/~rgspra/hist.html.

 


Canadian Forces Station Alsask:

Opened in 1962 and designated as 44 Radar Squadron in 1962, the station became operational in May 1963 and was re-designated RCAF Station Alsask, with the radar unit being re-named No. 44 Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron.

The Alsask towers were the last of the Pinetree Line to be built, closing the last gap in coverage across the prairies. Sitting on steel beams and covered in corrugated steel sheets, the tower was divided into two levels; a lower level housing the computer equipment and an upper level serving as the command centre. Sitting at the top of the tower was a radar unit, covered with a fiberglass dome resembling a giant golf ball.

As a part of the Unification of the Forces in 1966, the station was re-named Canadian Forces Station Alsask.

Improvements in radar equipment lead to the closure of some radar stations throughout the 1960s and 1970s as fewer stations were needed to cover the same area.

By the mid-1980s, technology had improved to such a degree that only the far-north Distant Early Warning Line was needed. Throughout the rest of the 80s, the remaining Pinetree Line stations were gradually closed, with the last ones shut down by the early 1990s.

CFS Alsask closed in 1987 and the land was sold to the Village of Alsask.

The concrete operations building and two of the three radar towers up on the hill were demolished.  The remaining tower was turned over to Transport Canada for use civilian aircraft control.  It was finally decommissioned in 1996.

Most of the buildings in the domestic area remain today; some occupied and some vacant.  The PMQ trailers were once a senior’s village, but most are gone and the remaining ones are now vacant.  The old school became a senior’s centre but too has been vacant since the 1990s.  The gym and pool are also still in use as a public community centre for the Village of Alsask.

The former Construction Engineering building is a mechanical shop and one of the old buildings is used as offices for the Alsask Golf Club and a craft centre.

The single-members barracks have been remodeled into single-family row-houses.

The remaining tower was turned over to Transport Canada after Alsask closed in 1987 and finally decommissioned in 1996.

Now the Edmonton-based Canadian Civil Defence Museum and Archives have made plans to restore the still structurally-sound radar tower to its former glory, with the possible inclusion of an interpretive centre and gift shop.

The Alsask tower has remained unchanged since the Pinetree days, with its original dome still relatively intact.  With its impending restoration, a piece of Cold War history will be preserved to honour the men and women who served at these isolated sentinels.

Additional source material:   the personal recollections of the author (2004), Google Maps (2017).


Canadian Forces Station Dana:

Opened in 1962 as RCAF Station Dana (also known as Sage Hill), with the radar functions being run by No. 45 Radar Squadron.

The station consisted of three pulsed radars, and support facilities, including barracks, married quarters (trailers), a school, chapel, bowling alley and gym. The site was powered by a natural gas-fired power plant, that also generated steam for heating some of the buildings.

Good Morning Bruce

The Junior Ranks Mess was known as “The Pink Panther Club”, with pink leather on the seats in the dance area.  The Pink Panther Club held dances, darts, cards and movies one night a week.

With the Unification of the forces, the station was re-named CFS Dana in 1968.

The station closed in 1987.

The Sagehill Development Corporation bought the base for $180k.  For many years the PMQs (trailers) were rented out to civilians, but they are no longer there. For a time in the early 90s, a food company operated out of the site, but went out of business within a couple years. In the mid 90s, the base was sold again and became the Signal Hill Buffalo Farm.

As of 2011, the buildings are in disrepair, with roofs collapsing on some of them. Only one radar tower remains, and its radome has been deflated. The owner died in 2011 and current ownership is unknown, but it is still a buffalo ranch.

Additional source material:  information provided by Norm Rumpel, RCAF service member at CFS Dana 1970-72.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/pinetree-line/saskatchewan/

21 comments

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  1. Jim(Jimmy Young)

    Hi there! My name is Jim Young. I lived in DANA from January 1966- June 1968. In those days I was Jimmy Young. Would love to hear from anyone who knew me in those days!! I was just looking at some related “DANA” news and I see our teacher Miss Bramley passed away in 2010. She was a wonderful teacher! Cheers!

    Jimmy Young

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I hope you are able to re-connect with some of your friends from DANA.

      Bruce

  2. theresa

    my family now owns some of the buildings on the base in alsask sk.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Theresa,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. What buildings do you own and do you have any plans for them of the property? Is the old radar tower north of the station still standing? I’m always looking for updates.

      Bruce

      1. theresa

        hi yes the tower is still there. my husbands uncle owns the barracks and the recreation center and another uncle owns another building beside the rec center . I am not sure there plans for the building but are doing some work on them .

        1. theresa

          i think it is going to be a family museum

          1. Bruce Forsyth

            Hi Theresa,

            Please keep me updated. I’m always interested in the current status of any abandoned base.

            Bruce

  3. Carl Zablots

    Hi just wondering if there is anyone out there that used to work in the military Sage Hill Dana radar base , I would be interested in talking to them . I am doing a paper and I would like more information on the site etc
    Thanks you for reading this message and you can email me Back at. carlz@shaw.ca

  4. John

    My dad worked the Pinetree Line during the 80s and he specifically worked on CFS Yorkton… I would really like to go and check out the ruins of this base however I cannot find it on google maps.. Can anyone help direct me to the bandoned base???

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I can’t seem to find an address for CFS Yorkton, but the easiest way to find it on Google Maps is to go to the CFS Yorkton entry on Wikipedia. Look in the upper right corner, you’ll see GPS coordinates, click on that, then click on see it in Google Maps and it will take you there.

      Bruce

      1. John

        Thanks I found the longitude and l lattitude coordinates on Wikipedia

  5. Tony

    Hello sir,
    My father was posted here in the late 60’s to / or early 70’s. I was just a 1-3 year old when stationed here. I have a recollection of being in a building that had a “Pink Panther” on the wall, and I believe it may have been the base’s Bar? I am trying to re-trace my steps in my early childhood and I know well of this place.

    Do you know of anywhere on the web that may have the news or any postings from the base? You see, as a very young child, I didn’t know right from wrong, but I did something bad (according to my mom). Anyone remember a small child beating a dog over the head with a shovel??

    Anyways… any help would be appreciated.

    I thank you and anyone else in advance.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. You didn’t indicate which base you are talking about. I don’t have any information on a Pink Panther drawing on a wall, but maybe someone else reading this web page will have an answer for you. It is a small world.

      Bruce

      1. Norm

        6 March 2017

        Good Morning Bruce

        The Pink Panther you are talking about was the Junior Ranks Mess, “The Pink Panther Club”. In there we had a bar, dances, darts, cards and 1 night a week movies. There was even pink leather on the seats in the dance area. I was posted at CFS Dana 1970 to 1972.

        1. Bruce Forsyth

          Hi Norm,

          Thanks for the information. I never got to see any of the Pinetree stations in action. I’m sure they had their own charm.

          Bruce

  6. Tony

    Yes … sorry it was Dana..

  7. Ron Hale

    Good day, I was posted to Dana from Penhold (43 Radar Squadron) in 1981. Sagehill was a real good posting, I remember driving out there for the very first time thinking oh my god where is this place. It was a very tightknit community and everybody knew everybody, everything was there that you needed and to drive into Saskatoon for a coffee was nothing or a trip to the Bruno hotel to quaff a few draft . I met my wife, Janie there we’ve been married for over 30 years, Time does fade the memory, and when I look back at some of the pictures, things begin to click again and I remember CFS Dana what it had to offer Thanks.

    Ron Hale

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks for telling your story. If you have any photos that you wish to share, please send them to bruce@militarybruce.com.

      Thanks, Bruce

  8. Larry A.Mercer C.D.

    How can I connect with former C F S Alsask personnel from 1978-81 inclusive
    Do you know of any
    I was an MSE OP

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Larry,

      I don’t have any contacts, but maybe someone will see your post here and contact you.

      Bruce

      1. Larry A.Mercer C.D.

        Thanks Bruce
        Happy New Year 2018
        I just retired to-day
        45 years with DND
        August 2nd.London Ontario (1972)
        Recruiting Centre
        December 29 2017
        NDHQ Mail Room

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