Whiteshell Provincial Park
is one of the Provincial Parks
along the eastern border of Manitoba
, near Ontario
. The park is located in the Canadian Shield
region approximately 130 km east of Winnipeg
. Whiteshell Park has many rivers and remote lakes, and is mainly boreal forest
with bare granite ridges. The park has cottage and recreational areas along with a large wilderness back country.
Some of the area was first mapped on birch bark by the Ojibway
. In 1734, Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Verendrye
was the first European to explore the area during his quest for a route to the Western Sea
. Long before the arrival of La Verendrye the area was populated by the Ojibway
people, and various other groups before them. The name of the park is derived from the cowrie
shells that were used in ceremonies by the Ojibway, Anishinaabe
, and Midewiwin
. The historic Winnipeg River
and the Whiteshell River
are the main rivers that run through this remote park and wilderness area. For thousands of years aboriginal peoples
used the area for harvesting wild rice, hunting, fishing, trade, and dwelling. Natives, fur traders, and trappers used the Winnipeg River as a main travel route, along with the Whiteshell River
Whiteshell Park has many pink granite ridges, cliffs, and flat granite areas used for petroform making by First Nation peoples. There is also archaeological evidence of copper trading, prehistoric quartz mining, and stone tool making in the area. The copper trade, going as far east to Lake Superior, began approximately 4000 years ago. Many artifacts and prehistoric camps were discovered in the Whiteshell Park and are protected under the Heritage Act of Manitoba.
Whiteshell Provinical Park has twelve main freshwater
lakes that are used for recreation which would include boating, watersports and angling. These lakes are:
In addition there are many more remote lakes throughout the park that are not easy to access, such as George Lake, Crowduck Lake, and Horseshoe Lake.
The park is still used by aboriginal peoples for wild rice
harvesting and ceremonies. Today the park is popular for swimming, boating, canoeing, hiking, cottagers, camping, fishing, and more. It contains part of the Trans-Canada Trail
, although construction is incomplete. The species of fish that this section of the Winnipeg River System is best known for is its monstrous sturgeon. These gigantic bottom feeders can reach lengths of up to 20 feet long and can be up to 200 years old. They however are an endangered species and have to be released upon catching them.