Provincial funding for the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve's has been stopped, forcing the nature preserve to curtail education and research activities, operators say.
The $60,000 cut represents more than half of the preserve's total operating budget.
The preserve, about 95 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, is a sanctuary for rare birds, including white pelicans and cormorants. It relies on volunteers.
"For the people out here, rural people, I think it's short-sighted to just throw us overboard," Larry Hawrysh, the chair of the board of the reserve, said about the impact of losing half the budget.
Hawrysh said the sanctuary is more than a safe place for birds. It was also conducting research on how human activities might exist in harmony with the environment.
Data was being collected on how farming affected lake water.
That work has been stopped because of the cut.
John Kindrachuk, the executive director of the nature reserve, said it was told it might qualify for grant money for research. That process, however, comes with its own challenges, he said.
"How can you do projects if there's nobody to look for the funding for projects?" he asked.
Kindrachuk has also cancelled visits from school groups.
"I had three schools that had called to come here for this June, July," he said. "I had to turn them away. What else can you do?"
The opposition's critic for tourism and parks decried the budget cut.
"I don't buy this," Danielle Chartier said. "This is an internationally recognized biosphere site. There are only 15 of them in Canada.
"This is a pretty special part of the province and to not maintain it …is absolutely reprehensible."