Thursday, 21 May 2015

Plains Bison in Banff National Park

Plains bison were reintroduced into Banff National Park in March 2015.

For those unable to watch embedded see here.

In the mid-1800s the majority of Plains Bison had been eliminated from the continent except for a few free ranging herds. They have always had a role in the ecosystem by their creation and maintenance of grasslands and meadows through grazing and physical disturbance of the ground. Bison are also a food source to predators.

The First Nations and pioneers benefited from the bison in years past. This reintroduction will assist the cultural reconnection which has been lost for over a century.

A long-term maximum population for Banff will be in the range of 600 – 1,000 individuals. To protect the initial relocation area it will only be accessed by established trails on foot or on horseback. For those who venture too closely the bison can create safety risks such as human fatalities. They weigh 450-900 kilograms, are agile for their size and capable of speeds up to 70 kilometres an hour. The areas of “the Panther and Red Deer River valleys, and the Fairholme Bench area of the lower Bow Valley” are locations that have the appropriate range habitat to support the bison.

The first phase of the reintroduction includes placing 30-50 bison in a temporary soft release paddock in the Panther-Dormer River area in the summer/fall. These plains bison will come from the herd at Elk Island National Park. The phasing in period will be over the next five years and beyond. Currently the Dormer River Valley is closed for prescribed fired burnings which will enhance new vegetation growth for the plains bison to be placed there.

This is exciting as it has been quite some time that Banff National Park has had the plains bison available to the public. During some of my early visits to Banff in childhood (late 1950s-1962), I recall seeing the plains bison in the various paddocks.

Research: ParksCanada

Friday, 15 May 2015

Couchiching Beach Park

At the beginning of May, a friend drove me up to Orillia for a short visit in beautiful sunshine. The trees had only barely begun to open their leaf buds.

This 14.5 acre park is located in the City of Orillia, Ontario, 80 miles / 129 kilometres north of Toronto on the west side of Couchiching Lake. It has a swimming beach, flower gardens, band shelter, picnic tables, fishing, trails/pathways, 66 benches, outdoor skating rink in winter and includes the town dock.

East of the lake in the next photo on the green shore line is Casino Rama.

Couchiching is from the Ojibwe word gojijiing meaning “inlet” and is separated from Lake Simcoe to the south by a narrow channel.

The area was first mapped by Samuel de Champlain between 1613 and 1615.

For those interested, I had previously posted historical articles on Samuel de Champlain:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Photo Credits: bemartin (C)2015.


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Cascade Gardens

The Banff Administration Building is located on the south side of the Bow River across the Bow River Bridge. The Cascade Gardens surround the stone building and are built into the hillside of Sulphur Mountain. These gardens offer spectacular views of the Bow River and the surrounding mountains.

More information on summer and winter activities can be located in Parks Canada's brochures.

Photo Credit: Fred Hsu CC=flickr

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Wascana Trails

The Wascana Trails are located NW of Regina along a deep ravine in the Qu'Appelle River Valley. They are part of the Wascana Valley Nature Recreation Site, covering 15km of varied terrain of hills with steep and winding ascents and descents providing excellent views of the river valley.

Wheelchair access by hand cycle on North America's first off-road hand cycle trail.

Directions from

"Go NW of Regina on Highway #11 about 10.5km past where it turns off of Albert (#6). Turn West on secondary Highway 734. At 7.7km where the Highway takes a hard right to the N, go straight (watch for cars as I KNOW you'll be thinking of singletrack) down the gravel road. Another 1.8km (around a couple left hand turns) and you will find the well marked parking lot. There are a few signs on the way so you won't get lost."

Research: TourismSaskatchewan dot com

Photo Credit: davidgane CC=nc-nd-flickr. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Prudhomme Lake

Although closed at this time of the year, Prudhomme Lake in Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia, offers respite from the cities in the summer. Located 16km east of Prince Rupert, this park covers 7 hectares with ample campground sites to enjoy fishing of five species of Pacific Salmon. Salmon spawning occurs in August and September.

Photo Credit: DreamEchos CC=nc-flickr. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Winter Necessity

Often in the winter months in western Canada, or in northern areas of Ontario and Quebec, plug-ins are necessary to keep engine blocks from freezing.

Winter has plagued western and eastern Canada in strange bursts of frigid weather combined with snow and freezing rain, followed by warmer weather. One never knows how the week will turn out, or just when that next heavy snowfall warning occurs.

Photo Credit: banff_lake_louise CC=nc-nd-flickr.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Asian Carp Invasion

The Ontario Angling Federation has set up a series of information sessions in several Ontario locations on how the Asian Carp invasion would jeopardize the Great Lakes. Each session will include speakers from the federal and provincial governments.

“An Asian carps invasion would jeopardize the Great Lakes’ $5-billion fishery and decimate native fish populations,” reads an OFAH press release. “While Asian carps are not yet established in the Great Lakes, their DNA has been detected near Chicago just a few miles upstream of Lake Michigan, prompting both the Canadian and Ontario governments to commit major resources to the threat.”

There is concern over the risks imposed by the Asian Carp creating ecological disruption that would alter the habitat by being carriers for disease and prey upon native fish populations. As well, the socio-economic impact upon the Aboriginal communities fisheries could result in the loss of their livelihood. Legislation in Canada is needed to ensure “that all Bighead, Black, Grass, and Silver carps entering the country to be “dead and eviscerated” prior to entry as Asian Carp have the ability to appear dead on ice for two days”.

Preventing the invasion is cheaper than trying to eradicate them once they have become established in the lake system.

It is now illegal in Ontario to possess live Bighead, Black, Grass or Silver Carp as well as other invasive fish species. has information on how to report a sighting.


Photo Credit: Lake Superior, Ontario - Orchid Calpso CC=nc-nd-flickr.
I apologize for no carp photo, but blogger would not allow Wikimedia photo to load for some strange reason. Is it Twilight Zone time?