The Wood Buffalo National Park – A National Park of Superlatives
Extensive tracts of land and unique wildlife: Located in northeastern Alberta, Canada’s largest conservation area, Wood Buffalo National Park.
On a gigantic area of 44,807 square kilometers, about one-seventh of the size of Germany extends a wonderful landscape boreal character, which attracts the visitor in many ways in the spell.
White salt flats and blue water
The park consists mainly of lakes and swamps, resulting in two Ramsar areas, the Peace Athabasca Delta, and the Crested Cranes. Ramsar areas are the regulations that came into force in 1975 to protect wetlands and wetlands, which is also considered one of the first international nature conservation treaties. The Peace-Athabasca Delta, for example, is one of the world’s largest inland delta for fresh water.
But not only the unique water landscapes of the Wood Buffalo fascinate the visitor. The salt flats or salt deserts – which are caused by the evaporation of water – can also be explored, as well as karst funnels and underground streams.
During the wintry night, over the flat area of the region, the mysterious red, green and purple glowing aurora borealis appears, while in the summer the sun never sets and it is daylight even at midnight.
Since the area of Wood Buffalo National Park is located in the far north, the thermometer can fall as low as -40 ° C in winter, with only 7 hours of sunlight a day on average. To avoid these extremely low temperatures, it is recommended to visit the park in spring and summer.
A unique variety of animals: from bison and cranes
Founded in 1922 to protect the endangered animals of Alberta, the Wood Buffalo National Park was elevated to the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 due to its biodiversity.
Today, more than 5,000 forest bison live in the National Park, which can reach a weight of up to 900 kilograms. The last free-standing crying cranes, which are considered the largest birds of the North American continent, have their natural habitat in the Wood Buffalo National Park.
But not only shrike cranes and forest bisons are to be found with a little luck; Moose, black and brown bears as well as lynxes, snow geese, snowshoe hares and the lightning-fast peregrine falcons are also at home here.
In 2007, Wood Buffalo National Park was also the site of the largest beaver dam in the world, which had an incredible length of 850 meters.
Explore the Wood Buffalo National Park
In addition to exploring the great flora and fauna, it is possible to hike, fish and ski in winter at Wood Buffalo, or go hiking on snowshoes year-round.
The Pine Lake Campground and the Kettle Point Group Camp are centrally located in the National Park and are an ideal spot to spend the night in a multi-day stay. It is also possible – as usual in Canada – to pitch the tent in the backcountry, away from the usual tourist routes.
Many beautiful water areas such as the Pine Lake, the salt rivers as well as Buffalo and Little Buffalo are a paradise for canoeists and those who want to become one. The necessary equipment for this can be borrowed in the city of Fort Smith, which is located east of the national park.
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