Riding Mountain National Park is a national park in Manitoba, Canada. The park sits atop the highest part of the Manitoba Escarpment. Consisting of a protected area 1,148 sq mi (2,973 km²), the forested parkland stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding prairie farmland. The park is home to wolves, moose, elk, black bears, hundreds of bird species, countless insects and a captive bison herd. It is most easily reached by Highway 10 which passes through the park. The south entrance is at the townsite of Wasagaming, which is the only commercial centre within the park boundaries.
The park was first protected in 1929 and had much of its public infrastructure created during the 1930s by labourers participating in Canada's great depression relief programs. Much of this early construction survives to this day. During World War II it was home to a Prisoner of War camp which has since been dismantled. In 1986, Riding Mountain was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.
Riding Mountain National Park is easily accessible by car and bus from centres to the north and south. Highway 10 connects Brandon, 95 km to the south, with Wasagaming and continues to Dauphin, 13 km beyond the north border of the Park. From the east, Highway 19 enters the park through the scenic escarpment region. The nearest commercial airports are at Dauphin and Brandon, and the nearest International Airport is located in Winnipeg. An airport for small planes is located at Erickson, just south of the park. To enter Riding Mountain National Park by motor vehicle, a permit is required and can be purchased at the park gates when entering the park.
Riding Mountain National Park is also well known for its wildflowers and wide range of unique vegetation, most of which is not seen anywhere else in the prairie regions of Canada.
For all recreation activities within the Park, it is advisable to contact Riding Mountain National Park administration for information and to acquire necessary permits.
There are over 400 km (250 miles) of trails within the park for hiking or backpacking. The park's habitat varies from the rugged gorges of the east side of the park to the tall evergreens of the Central portion to the meadows of the western portion. Trail surfaces vary from partially graveled patrol roads to grassy trails. Backpacking trails include Ochre River Trail, South Escarpment Trail, and the Tilson Lake Trail.
There are a lot of cycling opportunities in Riding Mountain National Park. Trails vary in difficulty from the easy gently rolling trails of the Central, Baldy Lake and Strathclair trails to the rugged and extremely hilly Packhorse, Jet and Baldy Hill trails.
Horse use is allowed on most backcountry trails. Local outfitters are able to provide equipment needed for a unique Horsedrawn Carriage experience.
Riding Mountain National Park is home to critically acclaimed ski trails. Warming shelters are found on several of the trails during the winter months and heated base cabins are available.
Because the Park is federally protected land, only the frozen surface of Clear Lake during the winter months can be used for snowmobiling.
National Park Fishing Licenses are required for fishing within Park boundaries. There are many clean, freshwater lakes within the Park including Clear Lake, Lake Audy, Moon Lake and Whirlpool Lake among others. Walleye, white fish and perch are found in Clear Lake, and a limited number of rainbow and brook trout can be found in Lake Katherine and Deep Lake. Ice fishing is allowed on Clear Lake during the winter months.
Motorized boats are allowed on Clear Lake, Lake Audy and Moon Lake. Boat launches can be found on Clear Lake and Lake Audy, while boats and motors must be carried 300 metres at Moon Lake. Only non-motorized watercrafts are allowed on Deep Lake, Lake Katherine and Whirlpool Lake, and all other backcountry lakes.
All personal water crafts are banned within Riding Mountain National Park.
As of 2008, only four-stroke and direct injected two-stroke equipped motor boats will be permitted on Clear Lake. Boats equipped with other motors are no permitted to use the lake for environmental reasons. The ban is enforced by Parks Canada and the RCMP.
The lakes of Riding Mountain provide excellent conditions for canoeing and kayaking. At times, Whirlpool River and Jackfish Creek can be used for canoeing & kayaking when the water is high enough, usually after heavy rains or spring runoff.
Clear Lake is used by many people for sailing because of it's relatively large size, and wind patterns. Parking and assembly areas are located at the Wasagaming boat launch.
Clear Lake is by far the most popular for swimming in Riding Mountain National Park. The main beach at Wasagaming is equipped with washrooms, change rooms, along with outdoor shower. There are numerous other beaches on clear lake as well. Other lakes used for swimming are Lake Katherine, Lake Audy and Moon Lake. Most of the other lakes in the park have muddy bottoms, so swimming is difficult but possible.
The clear spring-fed waters of Clear Lake provide many opportunities for scuba diving. The deepest point in Clear Lake is approximately 34.7 m (114 feet) deep.
Wasagaming campground is one of the largest in Manitoba, and is a full service campground located near the Wasagaming townsite and Clear Lake. All sites in the Wasagaming campground contain a fire box, picnic table, and access to washrooms at the unserviced camp sites, and full service sites are equipped with all modern ameneties including sewer, electricity, water, picnic table, and fire box. Other campgrounds suitable for car camping are located at Lake Audy, Moon Lake and Deep Lake. These campground sites are equipped with a fire box, picnic table, and access to washrooms or pit privies.
Tent camping is available at all campgrounds within the Park. Whirlpool Lake campground is designated as a tenting only campground. There are also 22 wilderness campsites located in the back country of the Park. These sites are equipped with firewood, pit privies, picnic tables and food storage containers.
There are 15 picnic sites located within the Park, usually along major roads and trails. These sites are equipped with barbecue pits, pit privies, and most have access to drinking water.
Clear Lake Golf Course is located within Park boundaries along the shores of Clear Lake, and is one of the top rated 18-hole golf courses in North America.
There are six professional tennis courts located in the Park in the Wasagaming townsite.
There is a skateboard park, located next to the parking lot near the old community center site in Wasagaming.
Grey Owl was the name Archibald Belaney (September 18, 1888 – April 13, 1938), adopted when he took upon a First Nations identity as an adult. He was a writer and became one of Canada's first conservationists. He spent many years living in a cabin in Riding Mountain National park studying and working with wildlife, including two beavers named Jelly Roll and Rawhide. His main goal in the park was to re-establish beaver colonies in areas where they were exterminated. He is regarded as a legend and major historical figure because of the influence he had on Riding Mountain National Park. His living quarters, now known as "Grey Owl's Cabin", still stand to this day and are a popular tourist attraction.
In 2008, Riding Mountain National Park celebrated the 75th anniversary of the creation and opening of the Park. It was the first National Park in Manitoba, and one of the first in western Canada. Anniversary celebrations included a reinactment of the official park opening ceremony, along with year-long arts, culture and wildlife programs.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND NATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA CONSERVE VALUABLE HABITAT NEAR RIDING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, MANITOBA.
Jan 26, 2011; WINNIPEG, Man. -- -- The following information was released by Environment Canada (EC): Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for...
Government of Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada conserve valuable habitat near Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba.
Feb 08, 2011; Robert Sopuck, Member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, on behalf of Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent,...
PWGSC: Canada's New Government Announces $718,839 Contract Awarded to Refurbish Riding Mountain National Park
Dec 21, 2006; MACGREGOR, MANITOBACCNMatthews - Dec. 21, 2006) - A $718,839 competitive contract has been awarded to Mac's Rentals (1986) Ltd.,...
The role of people, place and process in implementing a promising backcountry monitoring program: Riding Mountain National Park.
Aug 01, 2004; Abstract As technological advances allow visitors to travel faster and further into the backcountry regions of parks, the pattern...