Riding Mountain, Manitoba on the map. National Park Riding Mountain (Manitoba) on the map of Canada

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Riding Mountain, Manitoba on the map. National Park Riding Mountain  (Manitoba) on the map of Canada

Riding Mountain, Manitoba

Established: 1929   Acreage: 735,360

Rising dramatically out of a sea of farmland is an island of wilderness—Riding Mountain National Park. Situated on a ridge called the Manitoba Escarpment, the park sits 1430 feet (436 meters) above the prairie. The view from the top of this shale ridge stretches 50 miles (80 km) to the east. This highland plateau, lying at the center of the North American continent, is a place where the plant and animal communities of the north, east and west meet, creating a mosaic of diverse plant and animal life.

The lower slopes of the escarpment are graced by stands of eastern deciduous forest. Here are the elm, ash and oak more commonly seen along the shore of the Great Lakes. High areas of the park are covered with evergreen forest—white and black spruce, jack pine, balsam fir and tamarack. To the

west, at the escarpment's edge, white poplar opens into meadows of rough fescue prairie. In the summer the grasses mingle with a pageantry of wildflowers.

The animal population is as diverse as the landscape. Bald eagles and osprey, as well as beavers, make their home near the wild streams and lakes. Elk gather in sedge meadows to graze while, nearby, wolf packs wait their turn to strike. In the woodlands, the silent lynx stalks its prey. Other mammals include black bear, coyote and cougar. A small herd of bison inhabit a fenced range near Lake Audy.

The park is famous for the size and number of its fish. Northern pike is the main game fish, and specimens up to 29 pounds (13 kilograms) have been taken from Clear Lake. Lake, rainbow and brook trout, walleye and whitefish are the other species that populate the lakes of Riding Mountain.

The fascinating, varied landscape and wildlife can be explored through the network of hiking and riding trails. Fishing, camping, swimming, canoeing and boating are other popular pastimes. Winter recreational activities include ice fishing, cross country and downhill skiing, and snowshoeing.

Right: Crossing the escarpment on horseback is a fun way to explore the diverse landscape of the park.

Below: Elk can frequently be spotted in Riding Mountain National Park.

 

Riding Mountain, Manitoba on the map. National Park Riding Mountain  (Manitoba) on the map of Canada