110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan May 15, 2019 · 6 min. readThis article may contain affiliate links.

I've known Jenn Smith Nelson for several years now, and I often look up to her for inspiration and guidance on how to grow with my blog. I remember hearing about her book over a year ago, and I've been holding my breath in anticipation ever since.

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Smith Nelson teamed up with Doug O'Neill, another talented travel writer, to cover two Canadian provinces. Their new book, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, is a part of a Firefly Books series that showcase Canada's diversity of nature.

Buffalo at Riding Mountain National Park

 (Other books in the Firefly Books series include 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta, 100 Nature Hot Spots in British Columbia and 110 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario.)

Many people in Saskatchewan travel west into Alberta for the holidays, but there are just as many incredible and beautiful places in Manitoba too. I had the pleasure of experiencing some of these places last fall, but after reading this book, I realized there still a lot more that I need to see.

Lac La Ronge

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan not only mentions rural locations, but also major urban centres like Regina and Saskatoon too. Both cities, while often not considered "nature hot spots", contain unique ecosystems, such as bird sanctuaries, marshes, waterfalls and natural habitats.

The trouble with bringing urban centers into a book like this is that it can easily take up the bulk of it. For example, The Forks in Winnipeg could easily have made the list too. I was happy to see there was only a handful of urban centres in the book, with the rest being rural locations and parks.

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan also comes with a legend to quickly highlight what kind of activities can be expected at the different areas. Some of these activities are common, like hiking, biking and camping, but others like scuba diving and fossil hunting are almost unheard of in the prairies. I assumed that this legend was just used throughout all the books in the series and might not necessarily be relevant to this one, but I was wrong. Although I spent a weekend with Parks Canada in Riding Mountain National Park last year, I was completely unaware I could scuba dive there. And, you're going to shake your head when you read this, but I totally forgot you could go fossil hunting in Eastend!

The Great Sandhills

As an avid Saskatchewan traveller, I was pleasantly surprised by the list of places I have never been, and even some places I have never heard of. It was also great to see some places on my bucket list in this book, like Claybank, Creighton Limestone Crevices, the Crooked Bush and Wanuskewin Heritage Park. This reminded me to get out on the road and see them while I can.  

I was also fascinated by all the places in Manitoba I have never heard about. Clearwater Lake Provincial Park, for example, was voted the best provincial park in Manitoba in 2017 but I had never heard of it. This park is not only home to a massive, crystal blue lake, but also the Caves Self-Guiding Trail and The Pas Moraine – an escarpment that sounds like the one I saw in Riding Mountain National Park.

The Escarpment in Riding Mountain National Park

What I also like about the book is how at the end of each section there are a few pages dedicated to specific natural sites, like the best place to watch the Northern Lights or where to find waterfalls. Until reading this section, I had no idea about the geological formation known as The Eye on the Porcupine River, or that Hunt Falls are the highest waterfalls in Saskatchewan.

Waterfalls in Saskatchewan

Jenn Smith Nelson and Doug O'Neil wrote 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan not only to share some of the most beautiful places in those two provinces, but to encourage people to treat them with respect. The most beautiful environments are the most fragile, and seemingly innocent actions can cause devastating effects. This is particularly true about the Beechy Sandcastles. Smith Nelson covered these in the book, but less than a month after it was published, Beechy announced they were closing the sandcastles temporarily in 2019. Over-tourism – which is something that you wouldn't think would happen in Saskatchewan – has caused damage to the area and they are giving it a year to regrow and heal. People need to take care of these nature hot spots, or we might lose them forever.

I really enjoyed this book, and I will be using it as a reference for years to come. Thank you to Jenn Smith Nelson and Doug O'Neill for letting me get my hands on a copy of their book, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. If you'd like to read more about it, you can buy it on Amazon.

Do you have a favourite place to experience nature in Saskatchewan or Manitoba? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Don't forget to pin it!

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.

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