Since Riding Mountain was first declared a forest reserve in 1895, people have recognized the scenic beauty of the area, the importance of the habitat for wildlife, and the potential for recreation and relaxation to be found in these lands. In total, nearly 10 000 km2 (3,900 mile2) of the Parkland is shared by nationally- and provincially-designated parks and forest reserves. Your visit to the Parkland is sure to bring you to one or more of these areas. Below are listed some of the things you can expect to see and do while adventuring here in Nature’s playground.
Manitoba’s first national park achieved this status in 1933. It had previously been set aside as a forest reserve, amid the rapid deforestation of the surrounding area. The area of the Riding Mountains was held in great reverence by Native peoples.
The townsite of Wasagaming was developed during the Great Depression by work crews hired through a federal relief program. Several impressive log structures still exist from this era of the town’s development, giving the town a distinctive, rustic flavour.
The park itself covers 3 078 km2 (1,188 mile2), ranging from areas of open meadows to boreal forest, aspen parkland, and deciduous forest, besides the escarpment from which the park received its name. An abundance of wildlife can be found here, including deer, moose, elk, black bear and beaver. There are also a few Great Gray owls and wolves in the park. A small bison herd is kept at Lake Audy. The park offers unique experiences for families, photographers, birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
Campgrounds can be found throughout the park, and an extensive trail system offers a variety of scenic routes for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and birding. Over 400 km (250 miles) of summer trails and 260 km (163 miles) of cross-country ski trails are available.
Located south and east of Churchill, Manitoba's newest national park encompasses 11,475 square kilometres (4,430 square miles) of the Hudson-James Lowlands, and lies in a transition area between the boreal forests of north-central Manitoba and the Arctic tundra. The park is truly remote, with both a harsh terrain and climate.
Wapusk (which means "white bear" in Cree) is home to the world's largest known polar bear materinity denning sites. The park is an important habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds that nest on the Hudson Bay coast in summer, and which gather here to feed during the annual spring and fall migrations. Forty-two species of mammals inhabit the part, including the Cape Churchill caribou herd consisting of over 3,000 animals.
Geographically, the park has a number of unique features: a coastal habitat of salt marshes, dunes, beaches and extensive inter-tidal zone; a tundra zone; a taiga area of stunted white spruce, larch and willows; and a land area half-covered by small lakes, streams, rivers and bogs.
Access to the park is via authorized commerical tour operators in Churchill.