The Area

Our bear hunts are conducted along the south side of Riding Mountain National Park. The park was established in 1929, is 2,969 sq. km (1,146 sq mi) in size and is located at the geographical centre of North America.

 

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Riding Mountain National Park is located on the Manitoba Escarpment, which rises dramatically out of the prairies in southwestern Manitoba and is the highest elevation in the province. It is an island of wilderness where three distinct environments converge. The southern prairie grasslands meet and intermix with the western aspen forests and northern boreal forests, creating an area that is so unique and biologically diverse that the park and surrounding area were designated as a biological reserve in 1986 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).



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The area is noted for its great diversity of wildflowers, its large populations of moose and elk, whitetail deer, lynx, cougar, wolf and the highest concentration of black bears in North America. Bald eagles and osprey nest along the streams and lakes in the area and hundreds of prairie potholes provide for the highest density of breeding dabbling ducks in North America, particularly mallards, pintails and shovelers.


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 In the past, vast herds of bison ranged into this area and played a very important role in the survival of the aboriginal peoples that inhabited the area for at least 6000 years. Parks Canada maintains a captive herd of plains bison in Riding Mountain National Park. The herd lives in a 1200 acre enclosure located in the south central portion of the park near Lake Audy.

 

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An interesting piece of local history is that the famous conservationist and writer Archie Belaney, aka Grey Owl, was hired in 1931 by Riding Mountain National Park to re-establish the ailing beaver population. Grey Owl only stayed in the park for a short period of time, before moving to a new post in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, claiming the lakes in the park and surrounding area were too dry for the beavers. The beaver population has since rebounded and today numbers somewhere around 30,000. Grey Owl's cabin is a popular hiking destination in the park at Beaver Lake Lodge.