Whiteshell Provincial Park is a 2,729 square km park centrally located in Canada in the province of Manitoba. It can be found in the southeast of the province along the Manitoba-Ontario border, approximately 130 km east of Winnipeg. The park is located in the Canadian Shield region and has many rivers, remote lakes, boreal forest and bare granite ridges. It provides a variety of recreational opportunities as well as cottaging, camping and boating.
Whiteshell Provincial Park is home to a variety of large mammals including black bear, moose, white-tailed deer, wolves, lynx and smaller ones like otter, marten, fisher, red fox, mink, hares, beavers, bats, skunks, raccoons, and red squirrels. The birds that can be seen in the park include owls, bald eagles, ruby throated hummingbirds, chickadees, blue jays, grosbeaks, redpolls, woodpeckers, osprey, loons, ruffed grouse, ducks and Canada geese.
[3-Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel]
These ground squirrels belong only to the prairies of Western Canada, their range being from Alberta to Manitoba and down through Minnesota and Iowa. My farm had colonies of them and my dogs dug trenches to try to kill them.
There are also snakes, muskrats, turtles and a wide variety of insects found in the park. For fishermen, the lakes and rivers within the park are home to perch, walleye, jackfish, lake sturgeon, black crappie, burbot, whitefish, trout, white bass and smallmouth bass.
The Ojibway people and various other groups before them initially populated the area. The Ojibway, or Anishinaabe, first mapped some of the area on birch bark. 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. 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. 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 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.
Around 1920, the development of roads brought vacationers into the Whiteshell area. The first summer cottages were close to the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway. A decade later, the province of Manitoba established the Whiteshell Forest Reserve. Further roadwork continued, linking the reserve to Ontario in the east and campgrounds and picnic sites further north. In 1961, Whiteshell was given Provincial Park status and was set aside for future generations to enjoy.
[5- Frog on roadway at Park]
Guesses are welcome as to the type of frog this is. I have only seen green and brownish coloured frogs.
Research: ParksManitoba.ca, wikipedia.
Photo Credits: -Matthew Falk CC=nc-sa-flickr, -jerryoldenettel CC=nc-sa-flickr, -Calypso Orchid CC=nc-nd-flickr.
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