Great Canadian Parks / Manitoba

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The Parks / Manitoba / Wapusk National Park


 


 


Hudson Bay carves deeply into the Canadian north, bringing the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean to the northeast coast of Manitoba. It is such a massive body of water that it creates its own microclimate, making this landscape, south of the 60th parallel, feel like the Arctic. It is a semi-arid desert, receiving only 12 inches of precipitation annually.

 

The flat limestone plain is relatively new in earth history time. Only 4000 years ago, most of the area was under the Tyrell Sea, with only small islands dotting the waters. These areas today are over 100 feet above sea level, a result of isostatic rebound: the land rising as it was relieved of the weight of glacial cover. This uplifting continues at the rate of approximately 1 metre each century.

 

Water still covers about half the land surface, and the area boasts the most extensive mantle of peat in North America.

 

The region is comprised of four ’biomes’ or life zones, ranging from the coastal area with its tidal flats, to the boreal forest of spruce, tamarack and willow. In between are vast expanses of tundra carpeted with ground-hugging plants, and the taiga - a mixture of wet and dry habitats, marshes and grass plains dotted with sporadic trees.


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