Cover photo by @nadsufi
Did you know Manitoba is actually home to two national parks? While Riding Mountain tends to get all the glory thanks to its plentiful wildlife, numerous camping options and easy access by road, Wapusk National Park in Manitoba’s north does boast plenty of wildlife, but it is one of Canada’s most uninhabited and remote parks and is accessible only to a select few each year. Wapusk borders the Hudson Bay a short jaunt from Churchill and covers almost 12,000 sq. km. of boreal forest and arctic tundra.
Today we thought we’d bring Wapusk to you in the form of 10 amazing things you can see inside this park. And should this photo tour inspire you to visit, we’ll offer a few ways you can plan your adventure up north.
1. Beach Ridges
Archeological evidence shows the Inuit, Cree and Dene have called this region home for more than 3,000 years. Historically, the beach ridges in the northern part of the park appear to have been the most used by them on a sporadic and seasonal basis. In the winter, these ridges blow clear of snow and provide important feeding areas for wildlife.
2. Two Hundred Species of Bird
Wapusk is home to numerous species of wildlife including 200 different species of bird like this snowy owl. Also keep an eye out for rare species like the ivory gull, caspian tern, peregrine falcon and great grey owl.
3. Thirty-Eight Species of Mammal
Thirty-eight species of mammal call Wapusk home, including this arctic fox. Caribou, red fox, wolves and moose are also commonly seen in this area.
4. Polar Bears
On our last evening in Wapusk National Park we were treated to a long yellow and red sunset across the tundra. When this big guy decided to trundle across the snow and ice we couldn't have been happier. So, it's supposed to snowmagedon in Toronto today, enjoy the cold and the snow and be happy that it's nothing like the edge of Hudson's Bay out at CapeChurchill in Northern Manitoba. #wildlife #polarbear #bear #bears #sunsetporn #sunsetlovers #sunset_madness #findtruenorth #parkscanada #wildlifephotographer #fstopperstravel #climatechange #frontiersnorth #instanaturefriends #nature_brilliance #princely_shotz #travelingourplanet #wonderful_earthpics #exploremore #traveladdict #traveldiaries #postcardsfromtheworld #discoverearth #passionpassport #borntoroam #splendid_animals #saveourseaice #pbi #savethepolarbears #exploreMB
Obviously the park is also home to the most famous of northern mammals–the polar bear. Approximately 1,000 great white bears call Wapusk home at various times of year and can be seen wandering across the tundra. In the fall, bears gather at Cape Churchill inside Wapusk, where freezing sea ice first starts to form on the Hudson Bay.
5. Baby Polar Bears
The only thing more amazing than polar bears, are baby polar bears. Wapusk is home to one of the largest maternity denning sites in the world, meaning that every spring a lucky few get to witness mama and baby bear cubs emerge from their protective dens.
6. Summer Colour
While some might associate the north with the whiteness of snow, come summertime, the tundra teems with wildflowers like this vibrant purple fireweed. And if you’re especially lucky, you might spot a local resident wandering among the flora.
7. The Whiteness of Snow
Two bears walking on the vast open #tundra near Cape Churchill in Wapusk National Park. This #ThrowbackThursday is just from last polar bear season during our Polar Bears at Legendary Cape Churchill departure. One of our repeat guests Dorothy submitted this photo to our Arctic Adventurer Photo Contest. Thanks Dorothy! #tbt #polarbears #capechurchill #wapusk #wapusknationalpark #photographerexpedition #photographeradventures #exploreMB #exploreCanada #photographpolarbears #photography #whiteonwhite #churchilltravel #cape #cape2015
Still, the vast whiteness of the north is a thing to behold. Its pristine untouched beauty is unlike any other scenery in the world.
8. Northern Lights
Aurora borealis over trees in Wapusk National Park, #Manitoba, #Canada. The aurora borealis, also called the Northern Lights, is a coloured light display that is visible in the night sky, usually only at high latitudes. It occurs when charged and energetic particles from the Sun are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the polar regions. Hundreds of kilometres up, they collide with gas molecules and atoms, causing them to emit light. Credit: Science Photo Library/Dr. P. Marazzi #auroraborealis #northernlights #Canada #light #nightsky @theeconomist #TownCrier #DtC
With 300 days of aurora activity per year in Northern Manitoba, catching Mother Nature’s most spectacular light show is a common occurrence.
9. Nestor Two Research Camp
Established in 1968, Nestor Two has played host to countless scientists, researchers and students who monitor and study this unique ecosystem and the wildlife and vegetation that make their home here.
10. Bogs, Bays and Little Trees
The land is composed of peat bogs and marshy wetlands that are nearly impossible for anyone to cross in summer. Firmer ground makes way for short trees that can live for hundreds of years and only have branches on their south sides thanks to the strong winds.
Ready to visit? Check out Frontiers North and their once a year departure to Cape Churchill where polar bears gather as the ice freezes on the Hudson Bay each fall. Or, head to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge in spring, where you’ll seek out mothers emerging from their dens with their newly minted cubs.