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Wood Buffalo National Park

Travel Guide North America Canada Wood Buffalo National Park

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Introduction

Wood Buffalo National Park, located in northeastern Alberta and southern Northwest Territories, is the largest national park in Canada at 44,807 km2. Larger in area than Switzerland, it is the second-largest national park in the world, and thirteenth-largest protected area in the world. The park was established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming wood bison, currently estimated at more than 5,000. It is one of two known nesting sites of whooping cranes.

This area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for the biological diversity of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world's largest freshwater deltas, as well as the population of wild bison.

On June 28, 2013, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada designated Wood Buffalo National Park as Canada's newest and the world's largest dark-sky preserve. Parks Canada claims that the designation will help preserve nighttime ecology for the park’s large populations of bats, night hawks and owls, as well as providing opportunities for visitors to experience the northern lights.

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Geography

The park ranges in elevation from 183 metres) at the Little Buffalo River to 945 metres in the Caribou Mountains. The park headquarters is located in Fort Smith, with a smaller satellite office in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. The park contains one of the world's largest fresh water deltas, the Peace-Athabasca Delta, formed by the Peace, Athabasca and Birch Rivers. It is also known for its karst sinkholes in the northeastern section of the park. Alberta's largest springs (by volume, with an estimated discharge rate of eight cubic meters per second), Neon Lake Springs, are located in the Jackfish River drainage. Wood Buffalo National Park is located directly north of the Athabasca Oil Sands.

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Sights and Activities

Wood Buffalo National Park contains a large variety of wildlife species, such as moose, wood bison, black bears, hawks, gray wolves, owls, lynxes, beavers, eagles, martens, wolverines, brown bears, snowshoe hares, sandhill cranes, ruffed grouses, and the world's northernmost population of red-sided garter snakes, which form communal dens within the park.

Wood Buffalo Park contains the only natural nesting habitat for the endangered whooping crane. Known as Whooping Crane Summer Range, it is classified as a Ramsar site. It was identified through the International Biological Program. The range is a complex of contiguous water bodies, primarily lakes and various wetlands, such as marshes and bogs, but also includes streams and ponds.

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Getting There and Around

To get in you will have to enter from the nearest town Fort Smith. You can fly to Fort Smith from Edmonton. Otherwise it's a long drive from places in the south.

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Eat/Drink

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This is version 1. Last edited at 11:00 on Feb 1, 16 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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